A recent report from the Des Moines Register offers some alarming findings: The Register's recent investigation says out-of-state motorists are far more likely than Iowans to be pulled over by state troopers on interdiction teams, which are on the lookout for speeding, drug trafficking and other crimes, the data shows.
A review of about 22,000 traffic warnings and citations issued by two State Patrol crime-interdiction teams from 2008 to last year shows that 86 percent went to out-of-state motorists.
And, while most out-of-staters driving through Iowa are from Minnesota, Illinois, Missouri and Wisconsin, the data shows that Iowa targets California, Colorado and Illinois vehicles, key states for drug trafficking.
If you're from California, Colorado or Illinois, prepare to be pulled over and interrogated. Almost 12 percent of the warnings and violations were given to motorists with California plates; 11 percent to Colorado plates; and almost 10 percent to Illinois plates.
Drivers with Iowa plates, meanwhile, accounted for just 14 percent of the total number of warnings and citations.
Drivers with Minnesota plates received just 623 warnings and citations, or 2.8 percent. Warnings and citations for drivers with Missouri plates made up just more than 1 percent.
The aggression toward out-of-staters has produced complaints which have have been made to the Iowa citizen’s aide ombudsman. And allegations that state troopers have overstepped their authority while questioning motorists and searching their vehicles have spawned legal challenges in recent years.
But Roxann Ryan, an attorney for the Iowa Department of Public Safety, and Sgt. Rob Mordini of the State Patrol say motorists are not being targeted exclusively because they come from other states.
Clearly, that argument becomes a matter of semantics. The numbers don't lie.
Watch the video interrogation of one Wisconsin motorist and see for yourself whether the line of questioning was appropriate or a fishing expedition...
Iowa State Patrol interrogates Minnesotan . This Minnesota motorist was pulled over for doing 74 mph in a 70 speed limit area. Hmmmm.