Miami Cops Implicated In Tow Kickbacks

Three Miami, Fla., police officers and two public service aides are relieved of duty following an 18-month investigation into allegations they received thousands of dollars in kickbacks from tow truck companies, according to a Miami television station.

At least four other patrolmen are implicated in the scheme but remain on the job. Arrests in the case are expected in the coming weeks.

According to sources, patrol officers would respond to accidents and tip off specific tow truck companies to come and take the vehicles.

The investigation by the Miami Police Department and the FBI began following a February 2013 Miami City Commission meeting. Several towing companies complained about so-called pirate towers who were swooping in and stealing business from the city's approved list of towing companies.

Police began examining the allegations and quickly realized the so-called pirates weren't acting alone, as they had inside help from patrol officers. Miami officials then contacted the FBI, which joined in the investigation.


TDLR Cites Practices as Violations

According to a recent alert issued by the Southwest Towing Operators, the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation determined that three common industry practices are in violation of Texas statutes.

The three industry practices are: providing notary service at the vehicle storage facility for a fee; performing vehicle re-locates (such as for parking lot re-striping or construction) without vehicle owner's permission, and requiring proof of insurance for vehicle release, even when instructed to do so by law enforcement.

Though service may still be provided, a fee cannot be charged for notary service at the VSF, even if the notary fees go to the individual notary and are not retained by the VSF. A vehicle parked illegally, given proper notice and signage, can only be moved to a licensed VSF for impound. Proof of insurance can be used by a vehicle's owner as proof of ownership for release, but it can't be required.

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By Don Lomax
How effective has the Move Over Law been in your state?
1) Very effective
2) Moderately effective
3) Mostly ineffective
4) Not effective at all
Editor: Charles Duke
Managing Editor: Brendan Dooley
ATTV Editor & Anchor: Emily Oz
Advertising Sales: William Burwell
Content Management: Henri Calitri
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Road & Track Editor: Jim "Buck" Sorrenti
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Sharing industry information could aid growth
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Know Something? Share It!

They say information rules the world, and hopefully the towing industry can get to the point where information is freely shared. Don Archer in his Rates & Trade article this week speaks exactly to that point.

There are many advantages to sharing information, such as expanded industry knowledge, expansion of the industry and, as a by-product, increased respect. Think about this: Though they are "government," firemen and policemen are very well-respected. Yet, that same respect doesn't translate to towmen or the towing industry. It seems that the vast majority of towing-related articles I come across are presented from a different perspective than the towing professional. Quite often, it holds the towman in a negative light.

It doesn't have to be this way. Consider sharing info and "war stories." Do your part in contributing information. Answer polls and questionnaires. Do what it takes to expand the information available to your fellow tower. Maybe the needle can shift to a more positive view from others of the profession.
--Charles Duke
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As a towboss, nothing surprises you... unless it's a semi trailer pretending to be a pedestrian of course! Watch and see how the crews at Ray's Towing Inc. in Milwaukee, Wisconsin recover a semi and its trailer from a narrow bridge meant only for people. Hear from Mark Salentine of Ray's Towing on how they conducted the job.This video is brought to you by Hino Trucks. Hino Light and Medium Duty Trucks are the fastest growing brand in America. From Cab-Over and Hybrid Light Duty to Class 7 Medium Duty applications, Hino delivers.
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Celebration is a big part of AT Expo. It starts Thursday night with AT's Welcome Cruise featuring an appearance by Mike Corbin singing the Towman Ballads. Enjoy dinner and then roam on the Spirit of Baltimore as it cruises the Inner Harbor. A great way to kick off the American Towman Experience at AT Expo XXVI.
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