ID rules passed by Pelham

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, July 20, 2005

If you live in the city of Pelham, you better have some identification with you.

A new Pelham law passed at last week’s council meeting requires anyone within the city’s limits to present identification if asked by a law enforcement officer.

In accordance with a 2004 U.S. Supreme Court decision that allowed officers to demand identification, Pelham’s ordinance is not considered a violation of a person’s constitutional right against self-incrimination.

Pelham Chief of Police Allan Wade said despite the absence of this type of ordinance in most cities in Alabama, he feels it is an important tool for law enforcement officers.

&uot;Alabama state laws has a loophole between several statutes,&uot; Wade said. &uot;In the past, people were not required to produce identification upon the request of an officer.&uot;

Wade said the new law only applies to people who are not driving and the only time the ordinance will be used is when an officer has reasonable suspicion that a person has committed a crime or is about to commit a crime.

The new ordinance went in to effect this Monday.

Pelham is the first city in Alabama to pass such an ordinance and one of the first in the nation. The Supreme Court’s ruling a year ago stemmed from a case where a similar Nevada law was challenged.

&uot;This is not a unique ordinance to Alabama,&uot; Wade said. &uot;It has already been approved in a number of other states and has been proven to be effective.&uot;

Wade said that he thought the ordinance was important because many times his officers will confront someone who refuses to provide identification.

&uot;We run in to an awful lot of people who try to conceal their identity,&uot; he said. &uot;If they refuse to provide identification they will be take into custody until they can provide it.&uot;

Wade reiterated that the ordinance only applies when an officer has sufficient evidence to ask a person for identification.

&uot;We’re not just going up to anybody on the street and asking for I.D.,&uot; he said. &uot;Officers will use this to ensure that they have all the information necessary to conduct a proper investigation.&uot;