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Traffic Ticket Searches Done at Motor Vehicles Again

April 14, 2005 – St. Thomas motorists needing traffic ticket searches done on their vehicles prior to registration – which is everyone who registers a vehicle — will be able to get the search done at the Motor Vehicle Bureau's Sub Base office once again.
A cashier office that conducts the searches for outstanding tickets, operated by the V.I. Superior Court, will resume operations Monday at the bureau.
Denise Abramsen, Superior Court clerk, said Thursday the office had been closed since January while system upgrades were being made.
"Our infrastructure was not stable enough for the volume of work that was coming in," Abramsen said.
Abramsen said now that the upgrades have been completed, individuals registering their vehicles could once again complete the searches right at the Motor Vehicle Bureau beginning Monday. During the time that the upgrades were being made, residents had to go to the Superior Court located in downtown Charlotte Amalie to get the searches done.
"We have had a location at the MVB for years," Abramsen said, to provide motorists with the convenience of conducting the searches when they came to register their vehicles. But the increased volume of searches needing to be conducted necessitated the upgrade.
Motor Vehicle Bureau Director Lawrence Olive also confirmed the office's closure for what he said was an upgrade of the computer system.
Olive said the number of vehicles being registered on the island has increased steadily.
"Every year there are more and more vehicles being registered," Olive said. The bureau's director could not readily provide statistics on the number of vehicles registered in the last three years, however. Olive said he was short-staffed at the moment but would work on getting the information.
The bureau's Sub Base location has also had many problems of its own within the last year with limited staff and equipment, outdated technology, a malfunctioning computer system; and an inadequate facility that is prone to flooding.
In a March Senate hearing called to take testimony from the V.I. Police Department, which oversees the Motor Vehicle Bureau, Police Commissioner Elton Lewis urged senators to set aside at least 10 percent of the revenues generated by the bureau toward its maintenance, continued upgrades and implementation of new services, to include the issuance of non-driver personal identification cards. Lewis said they were also thinking of relocating the bureau from its Sub Base office. (See "Traffic Is No Laughing Matter, Says Lewis").
Olive said he has not heard any word from Lewis since concerning the relocation of the bureau. Police Spokesman Sgt. Thomas Hannah did not return calls for comment by press time.

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