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Thread: Towing

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2013


    How does your agency handle towing?

    In my agency we have about 10 companies on a municipal towing contract. When a cop needs a vehicle towed we call the company in rotation to get the vehicle. When the tow company gets the vehicle back to their lot, they fax over the vehicle details over to dispatch. Dispatch then logs it into a cad system for tracking. When the owner calls looking for their vehicle, the dispatcher can research the history.
    This same process works for other non-law enforcement agencies that have vehicles towed without the owners consent, such as the meter maids, and the tax department. We have an issue with the length of time it takes for the tow company to relay and fax over the details. Meanwhile the vehicle owner is left hanging for about an hour before we find out who towed the car.
    We are seeking a modern, quicker way to get the information from the tow company into our computer system.
    Anyone know if there is a scanning device, barcode reader type of thing that the tow truck driver can use to send dispatch the info in real-time?

    I'm with an agency of about 130,000 people, and about 25,000 cars towed annually.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2011


    Quote Originally Posted by greeneye82 View Post
    .....I'm with an agency of about 130,000 people, and about 25,000 cars towed annually.
    I suspect that number is a typographical error, considering that New York Police Department is the largest with around 35,000 sworn at last check.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    The population of the city is 130,000. About 350 cops.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2000
    Western Hemisphere
    NYPD = 40,000+ sworn; more personnel than all enlisted & commissioned US Coast Guard personnel combined. Just an interesting perspective.
    Towing: Towtruck driver should call UPON HOOK-UP into dispatch; dispatcher then logs the tow into CADS. That's how we did it. Same size/population as your area. It works. We had an ordinance mandating the procedure. If the driver didn't call it in, he got a summons to city court. And if the drivers deviated from state law & towed vehicles unnecessarily, they could go to jail. I had one tow a refrigerated 18 wheeler in which the driver recieved permission (good faith) while he went 10 minutes down the road to get a part for his broken down big rig. Tow company did a "private property/illegal parking" tow; saying the "property OWNER" didn't give permission. I completed an arrest warrant affidavit for Theft by Taking - Motor Vehicle and had the Magistrate give him a quick call telling him she'd issue the warrant unless he wanted to release the big rig.
    Stay safe!


  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2000
    Not sure what state you're in, but here in CA if an officer calls for a tow they are (the officer) required to fill out a tow form commonly known as the CHP-180. This form is completed by the officer along with the legal authority and reason for the tow, (some are, driver arrested, driver unlicensed, vehicle registration expired over six months and a day, etc). So before the tow company can hook up and leave with the vehicle, they have to wait for the officer to complete the form, they sign it (as does the officer) and dispatch enters the vehicle as soon as the officer advises them the tow company has possession of the vehicle. I guess some departments may not enter the vehicle into the computer as towed until after the officer brings the completed form to the station, but most I know of do it in real time via radio notification by the officer.

    An exception to this would be if the tow was an "owner request tow". So someone who has a disabled vehicle, or someone who's vehicle had been involved in an accident which needs to be towed. No entry would need to be made in the computer by dispatch as the person requesting the tow is aware of where their car is as they are the one requesting it.

    For repossessions or private party tows, the company is required to notify dispatch as soon as they get the vehicle back to their yard (or within a reasonable amount of time). Then dispatch enters the vehicle into the computer as towed in the event the owner can't find the vehicle and wants to report it stolen or missing.




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