Starting an ATPA

Starting an Auto Theft Prevention Authority

A. Create Enabling Legislation in your State

There are a number of states who have created an Auto Theft Prevention Authority. They are Michigan (1986), Illinois (1991), Texas (1991), Maryland (1994), Pennsylvania (1995), Arizona (1996), New York (1996), Virginia (1996), Minnesota (1997), Colorado (2003), Washington (2007) and Louisiana (2004).

These authorities are funded primarily with an assessment on drivers’ licenses, registration fees or auto insurance policies or premiums sold in the state. Michigan pioneered the ATPA concept in 1986, allocating $1 from each auto insurance policy and channeling the funds into combating auto theft.

If you are considering legislation in your State, the following are questions to consider:

  • What is the primary purpose of the ATPA? Prevention, Fraud, Enforcement, Prosecution, Education, Training or Offender Rehabilitation?
  • What is the best method to establish funding for the ATPA?
  • How will the funding be used? Grants and Administration?
  • Is there support in place to carry legislation for a program?
  • Where will the ATPA be located? Within a state government as its own entity or within a state agency, insurance, or as a non-profit?
  • How will the structure be established? How much administration funding for staffing and operating is needed to provide program oversight?
  • Will the ATPA have a Board or Committee? How will the Board or Committee be structured and balanced between representatives that focus on the purpose of your ATPA? Will the Board or Committee have decision making authority? Do the Board or Committee members have term limits? How do you initially structure the Board to not have all the terms expires at the same time?
  • What do you need to include in statute for requirements? Or if the organization is within state government do you need to outline these requirements? Such as audit requirements?
  • How do you collect the revenue for the program? Do these collections tie with the State’s fiscal year or the insurance calendar year? Are the collections in place at the beginning of a state year with the correct authority to spend as soon as collected? Does your statute include restrictions that don’t allow funds to be spent by the state elsewhere? Can you roll funds from year to year as carryover to re-award grants funds that do not get spent in a grant or if funds aren’t spent, do funds go back to the revenue source or back to the state’s general fund?
  • Should grants be awarded based on auto theft priority areas or distributed geographically? Should grant funding be awarded to multi-jurisdictional grant requests? Do you require matching funds in statute? Should grant funding be used for equipment that can be used for other crimes?
  • Should your statute allow collection of funds through donations or grants from private or public sources?

B. Select your Board of Directors

  1. Most Auto Theft Prevention Authorities are governed by a Board of Director. The purpose, powers and duties of the authority are vested in and exercised by a board of directors. These positions are typically outlined in your enabling legislation and appointed by the various organizations or governing bodies.

    Typically members of the board serve without compensation for their service on the board, except that members of the board may receive reasonable reimbursement for necessary travel and expenses.

    A majority of the members of the board constitute a quorum for the transaction of business at a meeting, or the exercise of a power or function of the authority. Notwithstanding any other law to the contrary, any action may be taken by the authority at a meeting upon a vote of the majority of the members present.

    The authority shall meet at the call of the chairperson or as may be provided in the bylaws of the authority.
    1. Develop Power and Duties of your Board in the Enabling Legislation
    2. Develop Appointment Procedures
  2. Register or appoint your board members with your Secretary of State’s Office or Governing authority for Boards and Commissions if applicable.
  3. Project Budget

C. Schedule a Board Meeting(s)

  1. Develop a Mission Statement if not specified in enabling legislation
  2. Develop a Plan of Operation or Prevention Strategy
  3. Created Bylaws or Operating Principals
  4. Statewide Auto Theft and Fraud Prevention Strategy
    1. Law Enforcement
      1. Law Enforcement/Detection/Apprehension Projects
    2. Public Awareness/Prevention
      1. Prevention and Education Programs
      2. Vehicle Theft by Juveniles
    3. Prosecution/Adjudication/Post Conviction
    4. Training
    5. Other Activities Which Assist in Combating Vehicle Theft
  5. Grant Administration
    1. Grant Policies and Procedures – Law Enforcement/Prevention/Apprehension
    2. Grant Application – Prosecution/Conviction
    3. Grant Application – Public Awareness
    4. Accountability Standards –Law Enforcement/Prevention/Apprehension
    5. Accountability Standards – Prosecution/Conviction
    6. Accountability Standards – Public Awareness

Suggestions for Researching an ATPA by Robert Force