After her license plate was stolen, Debra Romero of Westminster, Colorado, started getting notices in the mail informing her that she’d been skipping out on tolls, reports KIRO 7. Eventually, fines for the unpaid tolls added up to $1,592.72. As reported by the Denver Gazette, Longmont police Sergeant and president of the Colorado Fraternal Order of Police Stephen Schulz took the plate and mounted it on the back of his undercover Chevrolet Silverado:
Schulz, who also was the acting sergeant over the Longmont Police Department’s narcotics unit, circumvented proper protocol for undercover license plates, according to a May 5th internal police memo. That memo described Schulz’ actions “to be very alarming and out of alignment with the proper practice of having the state issue special license plates for undercover police officers.”
Romero had sold the car the plate was originally mounted on. At some point after that, the plate was stolen and recovered by police, who put it in evidence, where Schulz helped himself to it.
Romero received toll notices in the mail as Schulz blew toll after toll with her stolen plate. She couldn’t afford to pay the $1,592.72 in fines and to make matters worse, the state of Colorado wouldn’t let her renew her registration because of the fines. The Romeros reached out to the city and it agreed to pay the fines, after the Romeros went to the Denver Gazette.
Driving on a woman’s stolen license plate is bad enough, but the Denver Gazette notes that this isn’t Schulz’s first rodeo. The officer and three others were placed on administrative leave after the city investigated his narcotics department’s workplace environment. In another incident, an officer complained after Schulz used a homophobic slur to describe an officer wearing a face mask.
His narcotics unit was dissolved following the investigation and Schulz now investigates gang crimes. He remains president of the Colorado Fraternal Order Of Police.