DMV’s automated screening for ‘vulgar, violent, criminal and demeaning’ plates didn’t catch Nazi terms

A white woman in a blue blouse speaks in front of a podium in front of several other men
Department of Administration Commissioner Kelly Tshibaka answers questions on Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s newest budget proposal on Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2019, at the Capitol in Juneau. (Rashah McChesney/KTOO)

The state commissioner who oversees the Alaska Division of Motor Vehicles said Friday she has finished a review of how personalized license plates with Nazi references became street legal.

In a Facebook video, Administration Commissioner Kelly Tshibaka said a plate that said “FUHRER” was issued over a decade ago and invalidated in October after a public complaint. She said a new plate that said “3REICH” was issued in November, then invalidated in January.

Both personalized plates had slipped through an automated screening process. They weren’t on a list of more than 11,000 vulgar, violent, criminal and demeaning terms.

“The DMV’s electronic screening list will undergo a thorough review and be updated to add additional vulgar, violent, criminal and demeaning terms, per the criteria in the Alaska Administrative Code,” Tshibaka said.

She said a committee will review personalized plate requests that get flagged by the system, if staff are uncertain whether they are appropriate.

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Jeremy Hsieh is the deputy managing editor of the KTOO newsroom in Juneau. He’s a podcast fiend who’s worked in journalism since high school as a reporter, editor and television producer. He ran Gavel Alaska for 360 North from 2011 to 2016, and is big on experimenting with novel tools and mediums (including the occasional animated gif) to tell stories and demystify the news. Jeremy’s an East Coast transplant who moved to Juneau in 2008.

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