Detroit announces changes to towing policy to fight corruption
Detroit has a new system for towing the city’s stolen and abandoned cars.
City officials say every tow request will now go through a software that will assign either the police department or one of the seven other city-approved towing companies to the car.
If the car has been registered as stolen, it will be heading to Detroit's impound lot. If a car owner's insurance does not cover theft, the tow and impound fees will be waived, regardless of whether the owner lives in Detroit.
"When you talk to average citizens, the biggest complaint I get is this my car got stolen. I didn't have theft insurance. Not only do I have to fix the car, but I had to pay a tow yard. Hundreds of dollars in storage fees. There's something wrong with the fact your car got stolen and then you're paying to have your own car being stored in," Mayor Mike Duggan said during a Tuesday press conference.
The Detroit Police Department will be in charge of around 35% of the city’s towing. Seven other towing companies will handle the rest of the city’s towing needs, through a system that will rotate between the companies.
Duggan says that will decrease opportunities for corruption that have plagued the city's previous system and led to several criminal convictions.
"We have had a city councilman convicted, we had a deputy police chief convicted and by my count, eight police officers convicted of everything from taking bribes from towers to falsifying the damage reports and taking bribes from repair shops," Duggan said.
City officials say every tow request will now go through a software that will assign either the police or one of the seven other city-approved towing companies to the car.
Chief James White says this will help spot corruption in the police department, following several criminal convictions.
"If there's any irregularity with that process, there is an immediate alert that goes to our to monitor. And I told the auditor that immediate alert triggers an investigation and we're able to to rectify the problem immediately," White said.
Anyone whose car is towed in Detroit can head to findmytowedcar.org to track their vehicle.