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Police Commission Delays LAPD's 'Illegal' Impound Policy

February 14, 2012  | 

Flickr_CC: irina slutsky
Flickr_CC: irina slutsky

The Los Angeles Police Commission has tabled Chief Charlie Beck's new vehicle impound policy that has been declared illegal by the state's legal counsel and drawn the ire of the police union.

At a Tuesday meeting, the police commission delayed approving Chief Beck's new policy that would enable unlicensed drivers, which includes illegal immigrants, to recover their vehicle sooner than 30 days, reports the Los Angeles Times. California's vehicle code requires law enforcement agencies to hold impounds from unlicensed drivers for 30 days.

The commission and Chief Beck postponed a decision for two weeks, so the City Attorney could review a report from the state's Legislative Counsel Bureau that called the chief's new policy illegal.

In April, Chief Beck announced he was loosening the LAPD's impound policy, drawing quick condemnation from the Los Angeles Police Protective League (LAPPL).

"The proposed policy change jeopardizes public safety and welfare, as well as the safety of our officers, exposes the City and its officers to liability and the modification directly conflicts with and undermines the official position taken by the City of Los Angeles," said Tyler Izen, the league's president, in a Monday statement. 

In December, Chief Beck told the Los Angeles Times that impounding the vehicles of illegal immigrants is a fairness issue that can disrupt their often tenuous hold on jobs. Fines often exceed $1,200.

The policy has been tweaked so an unlicensed driver who shows proof of insurance, a valid government-issued ID, and hasn't been involved any major accidents can retrieve the car immediately. Otherwise, the car would be impounded for the full 30 days, reports the Los Angeles Daily News.

Read Chief Beck's nine-page report to the Police Commission about his new vehicle impound policy here.

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