The Los Angeles Police Protective League (LAPPL) has sued to overturn the LAPD's new vehicle impound policy that returns vehicles to unlicensed drivers in less than 30 days.
The police union filed a lawsuit in Los Angeles County Superior Court on Thursday against the city of Los Angeles and the LAPD. The union hopes to get a judicial order to halt the policy's implementation.
The policy, approved by the Police Commission in late February, appears to violate state law and needs judicial clarification for officers "concerned about complying with state law while still fulfilling their duties as law enforcement officers for the city of Los Angeles," according to a LAPPL statement.
The new LAPD impound policy may also subject LAPD officers to potential civil liability if they impound an unlicensed driver's car under the new one-day policy and that driver, within those next 30 days, goes on to cause a collision resulting in injury or death, according to LAPPL.
"Our lawsuit is based on our duty to fairly represent and protect the working conditions of LAPD officers," said Tyler Izen, league president. "As sworn officers of the city of Los Angeles and peace officers of the state of California, they are required to enforce all applicable state traffic laws, irrespective of a traffic violator's immigration status. Equally important is the duty of police officers to obey all administrative legal policies approved by the Police Commission and implemented by the chief of police."
The California Vehicle Code mandates a 30-day impoundment of a car driven by an unlicensed driver, and Chief Beck's new policy authorizes a one-day impounding of these vehicles. The state's Office of Legislative Counsel concluded that no municipality had the authority to direct its police officers to impound these cars for less than 30 days.
"The officers are in a catch-22," Izen added. "We believe a review by the courts is necessary and appropriate to determine the rights and duties of not only Los Angeles police officers, but all state law enforcement officers so they may continue protecting and enhancing the safety of all Californians."
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