The Arkansas City Police Department announced its intentions to crack down on illegal out-of-state vehicle tags in a Facebook post April 4.

“If you live in Cowley County, you must register your vehicle in Cowley County,” the post states.

The two legal exceptions to this law are if the individual is a college student or part of the military.

In the next two weeks, residents might receive a letter from ACPD that explains how the current state laws regarding vehicle tags will be enforced.

“If you do not receive a letter and you have out-of-state tags in violation of the law, you are still required to register your vehicle correctly,” the post says.

ACPD’s goal is to notify as many residents as possible before citations are issued so citizens can comply with the state law before active enforcement starts.

The issuance of warning citations will begin May 1 and issuance of actual citations with fines will not begin until June 1.

Residents of other states who work in Kansas do not need to worry that they will receive a citation.

“If your primary residence is in another state and you work in another state, you are not required to register your vehicle here,” ACPD said. “Each state requires you to register your vehicle where you live. If you live in Kansas and you own a second home in another state, you would still have to register your vehicle here.”

Text of warning letter

Dear (Vehicle Owner),

We recently received information that you are a resident of Cowley County and that you drive in Cowley County the following vehicle(s) listed below which are not registered in Cowley County.

(Vehicle year, make, model and out of state license plate)

Your status as a resident of Cowley County is based on the following information:

  • You are registered to vote in Cowley County.
  • You are not a student, and you own, lease or rent a place of domicile within Cowley County and have remained here for in excess of 90 days, except for infrequent or brief absences.
  • You have enrolled your child or children in a school district, part or all of which is located in Cowley County.
  • You have a place of domicile in Cowley County and have accepted employment or engage in any trade, profession, or occupation within the State of Kansas.
  • Your vehicle is being garaged in Cowley County.

You are required by Kansas state law K.S.A. 8-127 et seq., 8-138a, and 8-1,138; and Arkansas City Municipal Code Section 58-24(6) to register the motor vehicles listed above in Cowley County, unless you qualify for an exception, such as the armed forces or student exceptions provided in state law.

If you believe you qualify under one of these exceptions, please bring proof to the Police Department so that we can correct our records. Otherwise, please register your motor vehicle in Cowley County or additional enforcement steps may be taken, including the issuance of a Municipal Court notice to appear if you are caught driving the illegally registered vehicle.

The Arkansas City Police Department will begin warning enforcement of this municipal ordinance beginning May 1, 2017, and active enforcement on June 1, 2017. If convicted of these charges, the Kansas Department of Revenue will be notified and they may take civil enforcement to recover all unpaid back taxes.

Motor vehicles with out-of-state tags and titles must be inspected before they are registered; call the Cowley County Treasurer’s Office at (620) 221-5412 for locations and hours. To register your vehicle, proof of insurance is required along with the title, vehicle VIN inspection and driver’s license.

Please contact the Arkansas City Police Department if you have any questions. Thank you for your prompt attention to this matter.


Daniel C. Ward

Police Chief