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Suspending auto repos of clients impacted by Hurricane Harvey
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American Towman Magazine Presents the Week in TowingSeptember 13 - September 19, 2017

City, State
Waterford, MI
(Pop. 72,166)
Auburn, AL
(Pop. 56,908)
Terre Haute, IN
(Pop. 60,785)
Loveland, CO
(Pop. 72,651)
Light-Duty nonconsensual tow rates as provided by Police Towers of America.

Prepare for Nightmare Scenarios

tbando 68871By Randall C. Resch

Let's say you're dispatched to the scene of a fatality accident. You're an experienced tower with many years experience under your belt and you think you've seen it all.

You arrive on-scene; a plain-clothes person approaches you and identifies himself as a police captain and the scene's Incident Commander.

Just over the captain's shoulder are two totally destroyed vehicles, both are burned and blocking rush-hour traffic. One vehicle's a 1-ton truck loaded with paint, while the other a small sports car now resting upside down and completely incinerated. Also on-scene are paramedics, fire, hazmat and the coroner.

Oh, yeah ... also present are three local news station set-up for camera action 50-yards away.

Your experience tells you something's not the norm here.

The coroner and captain explain there's a burned victim still within the upside-down vehicle. The victim is well-known as a popular tennis coach at a local high school who was on his way home after school.

As the captain completes his forensic interpretation of the crash, he looks you smack dead in the eye and asks, "We'd like you to load the sports car upside down, with the body in it, and take it to your tow yard. The fire department's rescue team will extricate the body at your yard where it's inaccessible to the media."

This very scenario occurred in a southern California beach community. It was way beyond the norm of load-and-go operations of a typical accident scene, especially for fatality scenes where victims are commonly removed at the scene.

In this scenario, two separate tow companies responded to this accident differently.

Company A dispatched a driver with less than a year's experience. When he heard the captain's speech, he immediately declined the call stating he'd never done anything like that before and his company also had a policy to not load vehicles upside-down on a carrier. The captain thanked Company A and requested another company.

Company B arrived and immediately accepted the special request. Under direct approval and supervision of the police and coroner, the vehicle was loaded and transported to the extrication site.

As the victim was a high-profile personality and the media had set-up with intentions to film removal of the victim's body, the captain felt there would be total loss of dignity in protecting the victim's identity. He made the decision to move the vehicle to protect against the media filming the removal.

If you were called to this situation, are you the tower who will have the experience, sensitivity and decorum in order to get the job completed?

Most professional towers are a special breed with a willingness to serve. I wouldn't necessarily fault the young tower of Company A for admitting he didn't have the training, experience or intestinal fortitude to handle this kind of scenario. Under the conditions, his decline to serve was appropriate.

In serving law enforcement, how would you have handled the same situation?

Think about it.

Randall Resch is American Towman's and Tow Industry Week's Operation's Editor, a former California police officer, tow business owner and retired civilian off-road instructor for Navy Special Warfare. Randall is an approved instructor for towers serving the California Highway Patrol's rotation contract. His course is approved by the California law enforcement community. He has written over 500 industry-related articles for print and on-line. Randall was inducted into the International Towing & Recovery Hall of Fame in 2014.

It's OK to Decline Inebriated Transports

ForTB O fc5c6By Randall C. Resch

When the question comes up about transporting the drunken buddy, how are you prepared to answer the officer's request?

Often it's a situation after a DUI arrest that becomes a safety issue for towers when the arresting officer asks, "Will you take the passenger's buddy with you?" (Keep in mind the officer may not let you know that the buddy is a candidate for detox.) Because you wish to serve the police, you agree to transport Mr. Companion once you're loaded and ready to go.

All is well until the officer leaves. Then, the passenger starts to get a little froggy and attempts to liberate his friend's impounded vehicle.

Being placed directly in harm's way is typically not part of any law enforcement contract. Regarding the transport of injured, intoxicated or belligerent people, what's your company's policy and procedure?

While I realize that the police department has plenty to do, asking you to take control of an intoxicated or belligerent person is putting a tower directly in harm's way. Sure, the party may seem all friendly and nice; but once the cops depart, a drunk with a purpose comes alive and may come after you.

Police officers should be in charge of and responsible for transporting passengers off the highway for the safety of the tow operator. If it's an arrest in an area where public transportation is available, taxis or a rideshare program can transport them. If the passenger is intoxicated, a better decision would be to deliver that individual to detox and not release an intoxicated person into a public place.

In one incident, a tow operator agreed to transport a pair of intoxicated males off the highway after their buddy was arrested for DUI. With the impounded vehicle on his carrier, the tower drove the buzzed buddies to a residence; while he was letting them out, the two became aggressive, pulled the towman from the cab of his tow truck, and beat him severely. His injuries included a black eye, bloody nose and bruised ribs.

Although the tower did nothing wrong, the tower chose not to press charges as he did not want to cause problems for his tow company.

If your company tows for law enforcement, I recommend that management contact your law enforcement agencies to determine if (by contract) you're required to transport intoxicated or belligerent persons? My guess is ... that's police work.

Randall Resch is American Towman's and Tow Industry Week's Operations Editor, a former California police officer, tow business owner and retired civilian off-road instructor for Navy Special Warfare. Randall is an approved instructor for towers serving the California Highway Patrol's rotation contract. His course is approved by the California law enforcement community. He has written over 500 industry-related articles for print and on-line, and is a member of the International Towing & Recovery Hall of Fame.
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