It’s a known fact based our organization’s continuing strike team operations around the State of Texas, most local and county law enforcement agencies lack the necessary law enforcement training to investigate, file the criminal charges and regulate tow companies whom operate in their jurisdiction.
Rather a small or large police department or sheriff’s department, it is still your duty as mandated by State Law to enforce the Texas Towing, Storage & Booting Act.
We have heard many times, based on tow victim reports and calls to local 911 centers, law enforcement refuses to intervene, claiming its a civil matter, the property manager has a contract with the tow company, or its private property. None of these reactions are valid reasons not to enforce the law, as “any” violation of State Law comes with a criminal penalty. Some agencies around the state, file felony charges, while some, with a weak DA are only allowed to file Class B charges. Regardless, the level of charge filed, the fine alone, no less than $500 or more than $1500 would be a deterrent to make your tow companies obey the law. All cities and towns should regulate the private property tow fee and not allow a drop fee to be charged.
The law enforcement training, to enforce the Texas Towing, Storage & Booting Law IS available, at no cost, other than the cost to send someone from your department for lodging. food and fuel for the vehicle they drive to San Antonio. The San Antonio Police Department’s Vehicle Crimes Unit teaches the course, which can be used at your agency, so everyone knows their responsibilities when they are dispatched to a disturbance call between a vehicle owner or operator and a tow or booting operator or an issue at the vehicle storage facility. The persons to contact to receive the law enforcement training, only taught by SAPD are, Det Tony Acruri at 210-207-2348 or Sgt Jesse Arguello at 210-207-2350.
The law enforcement representative on the TDLR Towing, Booting & Storage Advisory Board is Nacogdoches Police Department Asst Chief Vince Griffin who can be contacted at 936-559-2604. We encourage LEAs to contact Vince, as their agency files the criminal charge of “Felony Theft, dollar value of the vehicle”, when a vehicle is towed in violation of the Towing, Storage & Booting Act.
A tow sign missing verbiage, text, the sign posted no farther 25′ from the street or not facing the driver upon entry are violations that result in a vehicle being towed without probable cause.
It’s of vital importance local police department obtain this training, as predatory tow company move into jurisdictions who do not enforce the law, as in the case with K&K Towing in Liberty, Texas operating in Jefferson & Orange counties and charge the state cap for tow fees, creating major problems for the your citizens.
For those cities whom do not have an ordinance or county regulation to regulate private property towing, the San Antonio Wrecker Ordinance is becoming a standard used by many cities, while counties who want to contract with a host of tow companies unsure about how to establish a contract, use the contract of the Travis County Sheriff’s Department, Dep. Moore is your contact at 512-854-7430.
Having everyone within your agency on the same page with the same training will go along way to combating the crime associated with predatory towing and illegal acts taking place in vehicle storage facilities, which law enforcement is required by State Law to conduct inspections, reporting their finding to TDLR. The TDLR contact person reference this State Law requirement is Todd Forrester, 512-463-8689.
A law enforcement officer can never learn to much, as criminal tactics change by the day and knowing how to address it, will make or break a criminal enterprise from stealing vehicles, charging high fees and engaging in organized criminal activity with parking facility owners or managers.
All Texas Law Enforcement agencies are encouraged to subscribe to Texas Towing Compliance under the law enforcement group, as your agency is already listed with the Police Directory.
24HR TEXAS TOW HOTLINE 512-680-3190