Detroit Police Department to overhaul towing system amid corruption scandal

Several face charges in scandal

The Detroit Police Department’s towing policies are getting a major overhaul amid a corruption scandal.

DETROITThe Detroit Police Department’s towing policies are getting a major overhaul amid a corruption scandal.

The towing scandal has taken down city council members, police officers and towing company owners. Detroit police Chief James White said a new system will prevent further corruption.

“This has been an ongoing problem in the city, in the department, for many, many years,” White said.

White announced major changes to how towing works in Detroit. The past process led to multiple police officers being convicted of taking bribes to steer towing business to towing companies.

Corruption that federal authorities say went right up to people like Lt. John Kennedy, who was working in internal affairs when authorities said Kennedy allegedly accepted bribes to favor a specific towing company.

“Some of the things that have happened are inexcusable. Those responsible are being held accountable. Those who have been charged will get their day in court,” White said.

Towing corruption hurt Detroit residents. Police said some towers charged outrageous towing and storage fees. The fees were so high that people were unable to get their cars back.

An app for smart phones is being developed that people can use when they need a tow. But residents also need to be protected from fees or any other type of wrongdoing.

“So the citizen will have the ability to download the app on their phone, much like when you call an Uber. The Uber, or Lyft, will be preselected and sent to you. If that one can’t make it then the system will select another tower,” White said.

The new software is meant to take the human element out of the situation. Tow contractors will have to bid for contracts going forward.

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About the Authors:

Local 4 Defender Shawn Ley is an Emmy award-winning journalist who has been with Local 4 News for more than a decade.

Kayla is a Web Producer for ClickOnDetroit. Before she joined the team in 2018 she worked at WILX in Lansing as a digital producer.