L.A. Police Union Challenges Car Impound Laws
In May, a new policy allowing undocumented drivers to have their impounded cars picked up by licensed driver could take in effect. That is if a L.A. Police Union doesn't win a challenge to stop it. Are more lenient impound laws a threat to safety or is are they necessary to alleviate unfair practices against undocumented immigrants?
(flickr: Wayan Vota)
via Huffington Post
A controversial new Los Angeles Police Department policy that would allow unlicensed drivers to avoid a month-long car impound faces a challenge from the police officers themselves.
The Los Angeles Protective Police League (LAPPL), an officer union, filed a lawsuit Thursday asking courts to put a stop to the new policy, which could technically release cars just one day (given certain conditions) after an unlicensed driver is stopped.
This goes against a state-mandated law that cars be impounded for 30 days. The new policy is slated to take effect at the end of April, according to the Daily News.
In a press release, the LAPPL called the new policy a "catch-22" for officers who could be liable to lawsuits if an unlicensed driver injures or kills others less than 30 days after being stopped by police. LAPPL also expressed concern that the policy conflicts with the aforementioned state law.
The lawsuit has nothing to do with undocumented immigrants, states League President Tyler Izen. "As sworn officers of the City of Los Angeles and peace officers of the State of California," said Izen in a statement, police "are required to enforce all applicable state traffic laws, irrespective of a traffic violator’s immigration status."
LAPD Chief Charlie Beck has been outspoken about the fact that the current impound period, in addition to an almost $1,400 towing fee, unfairly burden hard-working undocumented immigrants who can't obtain state driver licenses and often work minimum wage jobs.
Chief Beck has also advocated for provisional driver licenses in California, saying that increased regulations for the approximately 250,000 undocumented, unlicensed drivers in Los Angeles would lead to safer roads and less accidents.