The police union says California Vehicle Code 14602.6 requires officers to impound cars driven by unlicensed drivers for 30 days. The union also expressed concerns that public discussion of the proposed policy has prompted more complaints against officers.
Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck
The Los Angeles Police Protective League accuses LAPD Chief Charlie Beck of “political correctness” as he seeks to implement a more lenient car impound policy.
The police commission is scheduled to vote on Beck’s proposed policy at its meeting Tuesday. Observers expect the panel, appointed by Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, who backs Beck’s policy, to approve it.
In a letter to the department, the union that represents rank-and-file cops warns that Beck’s proposed policy would endanger public safety by allowing unlicensed drivers to retrieve their cars more quickly. The letter argues he has failed to “meet and confer in good faith” with the union, and it lays the groundwork for a possible lawsuit by saying his policy violates state law.
Beck wants to require officers to let unlicensed drivers call someone who could retrieve their cars, instead of impounding them for 30 days. He argues that punishing drivers with impound fees running into the thousands of dollars isn’t fair, especially for undocumented immigrants who are unable to obtain driver’s licenses.
Immigrant rights activists and the American Civil Liberties Union have hailed his proposal.