How Local Politics Affect the Quality and Prices of Towing Services in Communities

Ideally, the system of awarding a contract to provide police tow services involves a vetting committee to ensure standards set by council officials are met. Prompt and reasonably priced services are the foremost considerations for the issuance or renewal of a towing contract with the local police department. While such system is regarded as fair, there are cases in which towing companies face unfair competition caused by political machinations.

Case Example of How Politics Cause Unfair Competition Among Towing Service Operators

Just recently, an article carried by local news website Nevada Current, aired the complaints raised by towing companies against Nevada Governor Sisolak. The companies alleged that decisions for issuance of new towing contracts with the Nevada Metro Police were influenced by the financial contributions to the incumbent governor’s campaign funds,

Yaron Cohen, owner of a company called Fast Tow alleges that the granting of police tow services contracts across Southern Nevada has become 100 percent political. Cohen bewailed the participation of AutoReturn in the contract-awarding system. He asserts that AutoReturn’s involvement has increased towing costs, which has been detrimental to consumers in more than two dozen counties and cities being served by AutoReturn.

Actually, AutoReturn is not a provider of towing services but a towing management firm. It is a third party in charge of contracting towing companies that will provide the towing services requested by law enforcement agencies in Southern Nevada. The contract-awarding system apparently increased the costs of towing services, since AutoRetun is actually in the business of brokering deals in behalf of towing service operators in Nevada .

Chris Giunchigliani, the former Commissioner of Clark Country said that under the system, local police departments are no longer involved in the franchising of towing services, because a “middleman” is now in charge. The former commissioner added that Governor Sisolak has in fact used his position as member of County Commission and of the Fiscal Affairs Committee of Metro Nevada, in endorsing towing contracts.

According to Nevada Current, Governor Sisolak has not responded to their request for comment, specifically about issues connecting tow contract endorsements to his political campaign.

A Look at How the State of California Awards Police Tow Services Contracts

Cities and counties in California puts in place policies on how franchises to towing firms are awarded. However, their policies must be consistent with the guidelines prescribed by the state of California.

Under California laws, an “Official police tow service” refers to a towing company that has been approved by the city or country government to provide towing services to the local police department. As such the company’s towing services whether for medium or heavy duty towing as required by the situation, will be utilized by the local police department.

In formulating policies governing awarding of towing services contracts, it should be the intent of the city or county council to provide an equitable and impartial means of awarding towing services contracts to qualified towing firms operating in California. While many qualify, not all are applying for contracts to become official police tow services providers.

There’s probably a thousand or more towing companies operating across California. In the state’s 198 cities alone, at least 352 companies are on record as providers of towing services.

Some specialize in providing towing services and road side assistance to small to medium size vehicles, while some others are in the business of rendering heavy duty towing and recovery services to companies that deal with heavy equipment and payloads. In addition to local police departments, other organizations that award contracts to tow service operators, are property management firms, parking lot owners, subdivision associations and credit or lending companies partnering with car dealers.

Jackalyn Feliks