Navajo police have begun talks with neighboring states about reciprocal agreements to honor tribal license plates that will be required for motor vehicles of all reservation residents beginning next July.
Police Chief Bill Kellogg said Wednesday the tribe plans to be the first Arizona tribe to issue it own license plates."We don't expect any problems," he said, adding that tribal police officers already have met informally with Arizona and New Mexico highway officials about the plans.
Reciprocity agreements are common, he said. The states have it with each other, thereby allowing police in one state to recognize as valid the licenses of another state.
Failure to get reciprocity, however, could cause problems and could result in people with tribal plates being cited for improper vehicle registration in states where there is no reciprocity.
The tribe will also require non-Navajos living on the reservation to register their cars with the tribe instead of with the state government.
Facilities to produce the tribal license plates are being set up at the Navajo Training Academy complex in Toyeii, Kellogg said.
The tribe expects to create 10 permanent positions in the license plate manufacturing facility.
The program is also expected to generate about $500,000 a year and help boost tribal sovereignty.
"We're not planning to require everyone to get their own plates in July but to register them with us when their state license plate expires," Kellogg said.
The tribe hopes to register 20,000 vehicles the first year, he said.