[HISTORY: Adopted by the City Council of the City of Crystal Lake 10-19-2004 by Ord. No. 5852; amended in its entirety 5-7-2013 by Ord. No. 6929. Subsequent amendments noted where applicable.]
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- POLICE DEPARTMENT
- The City of Crystal Lake Police Department.
- TOWING FIRM
- A person or entity in the business of providing towing and storage of vehicles, basic repair services for disabled vehicles, and related services that is designated by the City to provide such services at the request of the Police Department.
- TOW OPERATOR
- A person who owns or operates a tow truck, as defined in this chapter.
- TOW TRUCK
- Every truck designed or altered and equipped for and used to push, tow, carry upon, or draw vehicles by means of a crane, hoist, tow bar, towline, or auxiliary axle, or called upon to render assistance to disabled vehicles, except for any truck tractor temporarily converted to a tow truck by means of a portable wrecker unit attached to the fifth wheel of the truck tractor and used only by the owner to tow a disabled vehicle also owned by him or her and never used for hire.
- TOW TRUCK, HEAVY-DUTY
- Every tow truck having a gross vehicle weight of over 26,000 pounds with a 25,000-pound boom capacity and wheel lift capabilities.
- TOW TRUCK, LIGHT-DUTY
- Every tow truck having a gross vehicle weight of 10,000 pounds to 15,000 pounds with an 8,000-pound boom capacity and wheel lift capabilities.
- TOW TRUCK, MEDIUM-DUTY
- Every tow truck having a gross vehicle weight of 15,001 pounds to 26,000 pounds with a 10,000-pound boom capacity and wheel lift capabilities.
All tow operators operating in the City are at all times subject to and must comply with all applicable federal, state, and local statutes, ordinances, and regulations, including Illinois Commerce Commission regulations and orders pertaining to commercial towing.
No person or entity that is not a selected and designated towing firm under this chapter may tow away or otherwise remove vehicles from public streets in the City, except at the request of the vehicle owner or operator. A vehicle owner or operator may designate any towing operator to tow his or her vehicle and may designate the destination of the towed vehicle.
It is unlawful for any tow operator or his or her agent or employee to solicit any tow service under this chapter at the scene of a traffic crash or disabled vehicle without having first been called by the owner or operator of the disabled vehicle or by the Police Department.
The City Council may promulgate rules and regulations from time to time describing the duties and procedures applicable to towing firms. All towing firms must obey those rules and regulations at all times when operating within City limits. Violations of those rules and regulations are punishable as provided in this chapter.
The City will designate not more than four towing firms to provide towing services to the Police Department. The number of towing firms designated by the City may be adjusted at any time, and from time to time, by the Chief of Police based on his or her determination of the City's needs. At the time that requests for bids are being issued by the City under § 476-7, the number of towing companies to which the City anticipates it will offer contracts as a result of that bidding process will be set by the City and included in the request for bids.
At least once every two years, and more frequently if determined appropriate by the Chief of Police, the City will issue a request for bids from towing firms to provide towing services to the Police Department (a "request for bids"). A request for bids must be issued in accordance with the process and terms provided in this chapter and with the City's procurement policy and procedures for competitive bidding.
The request for bids must include the place, time, date, and deadline for submission of sealed bids, the maximum number of contracts the City anticipates offering to successful bidders, the form of contract that the successful bidders must enter into with the City as provided in § 476-13, and additional information as determined by the Chief of Police.
All bids from towing firms must be sealed and must be submitted as provided in the request for bids. Each bid must contain at least all of the following information about the bidder:
Name of bidder and type of entity (e.g., corporation or partnership).
Primary business location.
Name and address of a primary contact person.
Names and addresses of all parties having a 5% or more ownership interest in the entity.
Number of years the bidder has been doing business in the City or the surrounding area.
Number of years that the persons holding 5% or more ownership interests in the entity have been doing business in the City or the surrounding area.
Location of each of the bidder's storage lots and a description of the security measures used at each lot.
A description of all tow trucks owned by the bidder and that may be used by the bidder to provide services to the City, including the year, make, model, type, serial number, registration number, and towing capacity of each truck.
A list of all tow operators employed or otherwise engaged by the bidder who may provide services to the City.
Number of years the business has conducted police towing services, the jurisdictions in which that work has been performed, and copies of any written commendations or complaints received from governmental agencies related to those services within the last five years.
A description of the bidder's business activities aside from participation in police towing activities.
Evidence that the bidder is a member in good standing of the Professional Towing and Recovery Operators of Illinois or a similar professional trade association.
The Chief of Police or his or her designee will open and read bids at the time and place established in the request for bids. The Chief of Police thereafter will review and rank all responsive bids and select the lowest responsible bidder or bidders based on the selection criteria stated in the request for bids.
The Chief of Police must maintain a roster of all towing firms currently under contract with the City (the "roster"). The roster must be available for public inspection at Police Department headquarters at all times during regular office business hours.
[Amended 12-15-2015 by Ord. No. 7189]
Whenever a police officer initiates a tow of a vehicle, the officer shall contact the Police Department and inform the Police Department that a tow has been authorized. The Police Department shall then select a towing service from the Police Department's tow rotation list corresponding to the geographical area where the tow was authorized, and shall contact that towing service directly by phone, computer, or similar means. Towing services shall be contacted in the order listed on the appropriate tow rotation list, at which point the towing service shall be placed at the end of that tow rotation list. In the event a listed towing service is not available, the next listed towing service on that tow rotation list shall be contacted.
The Police Department may deviate from the order listed on a tow rotation list if the towing service next on that tow rotation list is, in the judgment of the authorizing police officer or the Police Department, incapable of or not properly equipped for handling a specific task related to the tow that requires special skills or equipment. A deviation from the order listed on the tow rotation list for this reason shall not cause a loss of rotation turn by the towing service determined to be incapable or not properly equipped for handling the request.
In the event of an emergency, a police officer or the Police Department, taking into account the safety and location of the situation, may deviate from the order of the tow rotation list and obtain towing service from any source deemed appropriate.
If the owner or operator of a disabled vehicle is present at the scene of the disabled vehicle, is not under arrest, and does not abandon his or her vehicle, and in the police officer's opinion the disabled vehicle is not impeding or obstructing traffic, illegally parked, or posing a security or safety risk, the law enforcement officer shall allow the owner of the vehicle to specify a towing service to relocate the disabled vehicle. If the owner chooses not to specify a towing service, the Police Department may select a towing service for the vehicle as provided in this § 476-11.
In the case of an emergency determined by the Chief of Police or other authorized police officer, the Police Department may assign a job to a towing company outside of the regular rotation procedure. After the emergency circumstances have been addressed, the Police Department will return to the regular rotation procedure in a manner that reasonably attempts to mitigate any unequal assignment of jobs created by the emergency.
The City will enter into a contract with each towing firm using a form provided by the City that includes the following provisions:
A specific term for the contract, uniform to all of the towing firms, as determined by the Chief of Police.
Uniform pricing and fees, as determined by the Chief of Police based on bids received through the request for bids process and other criteria deemed relevant and appropriate, applicable to all of the towing firms for the term of the contracts, for the following services:
Vehicle tows, as follows:
Vehicles involved in traffic crashes;
Abandoned or unclaimed vehicles in the roadway or on private property;
Vehicles involved in crimes or seized or impounded as evidence;
Recovered stolen vehicles;
Disabled or damaged squad cars and other Police Department vehicles;
Vehicles that must be relocated during a City emergency;
Other vehicles as requested by the Police Department;
Vehicle storage; and
Performance of minor emergency repairs on disabled vehicles as listed by the Police Department, which may include such things as providing fuel, changing a tire, providing jump starts, and dislodging joined vehicles.
Established response times for tows and other services.
Maintenance of at least one facility within the City with equipment and labor forces adequate to supply demand for police-directed towing services, on a full twenty-four-hour-per-day basis every day of the year.
Availability of an agent at all other hours to allow police access to all vehicles towed and stored under this chapter and to release vehicles under emergency situations.
Maintenance of a dispatch center that can communicate directly with the Police Department and with all tow operators.
Appropriate personal protective equipment, including reflective vests or similar clothing, for all tow operators.
The contract also must provide that the towing firm will assume full responsibility and liability for all property entrusted to its care and agree to indemnify, defend, and hold harmless the City against all claims or suits for loss, damage, injury, or liability, including court costs and attorney's fees, arising from the towing firm's work under the contract.
All owners of towing firms must conduct their business in an orderly, ethical, and businesslike manner.
[Amended 12-15-2015 by Ord. No. 7189]
All towing firms must use only competent, courteous, trustworthy, sober, and properly licensed tow operators who have adequate experience and training to perform the services designated in this chapter.
A person may not own a towing service or operate a vehicle on behalf of a towing service included on a tow rotation list if that person has been convicted during the five years preceding the application of a criminal offense involving one or more of the following:
Persons operating a towing or recovery vehicle on behalf of a towing service must have completed a Traffic Incident Management Training Program approved by the Department of Transportation.
All towing firms must have a valid authority issued to it by the Illinois Commerce Commission.
All operators of towing vehicles must hold a driver's license with the proper classification for the type of towing operation he or she shall be performing and the vehicle he or she shall be operating.
Each towing firm must file with the Police Department a list of the tow operators it employs or otherwise engages and must update the list at least annually and whenever requested by the City. The list must include the following information for each tow operator: name; date of birth; home address; driver's license number, state, and classification; and years employed by the towing firm.
Each towing firm must provide the City with a copy of a current background check for each tow operator from a private fingerprinting and identification company, as provided in the request for bids or otherwise.
Each towing firm must pay the City a fee of $50 per tow operator to conduct the background checks.
[Amended 12-15-2015 by Ord. No. 7189]
All towing vehicles used by a towing firm to provide services to the City must be properly licensed by the Illinois Secretary of State for towing operation and must comply with all statutory requirements relating to identification, equipment, and insurance as outlined in the Illinois Vehicle Code, 625 ILCS 5/12-606(a) through (e). The towing firm must maintain at all times all of the insurance coverage and limits listed in this section. The towing company must provide a copy of each policy to the City along with a certificate naming the City as an additional insured. Required coverage includes:
Comprehensive automobile liability insurance with a minimum combined single limit coverage of $1,000,000;
Commercial general liability insurance with limits of not less than $1,000,000 per occurrence, $100,000 minimum garage keepers legal liability insurance, and $100,000 minimum on-hook coverage or cargo insurance; and
A worker's compensation policy covering every person operating a tow truck on behalf of the towing service, if required under current law.
When a towing firm is called to the site of a traffic crash and there is debris, shattered glass, liquid spills, or other material from wreckage at the site, the towing firm must remove such material from the site, in accordance with the Illinois Vehicle Code, 625 ILCS 5/12-606(c).
No towing firm may release, service, inspect, repair, or remove personal property from a vehicle if the Police Department informed the towing firm that the vehicle is:
[Amended 12-15-2015 by Ord. No. 7189]
Each towing firm must provide secure storage for all vehicles towed at the City's direction. Each towing firm must maintain secure storage space with capacity for at least 15 vehicles, including at least five vehicle spaces within an indoor storage facility. Additionally, each towing firm must:
Maintain at least one facility, which does not need to be located within the City of Crystal Lake, with equipment and labor forces adequate to supply demand for police-directed towing services, on a full twenty-four-hour-per-day basis every day of the year;
Possess a secure parking lot used for short-term vehicle storage after a vehicle is towed that is open during business hours and is equipped with security features as required by the Crystal Lake Police Department;
Operate a dispatch center that can communicate directly with the Crystal Lake Police Department and with all tow operators; and
Comply with any additional requirements the Crystal Lake Police Department deems necessary.
Towing firms may not make any repairs or alterations to a vehicle without first being authorized by the owner or his or her designee.
Towing firms may not remove parts or accessories from vehicles without authorization except as necessary to secure the vehicle. Under those circumstances, the towing firm must make and keep a record of all parts or accessories removed.
The towing firm must maintain a record of all Police-Department-directed tows and service requests that includes the following information:
Time, date, and location of tow, hold information if applicable, the name of the officer authorizing the tow, and the police report number.
The color, year, make, model, registration number, and vehicle identification number of the towed or serviced vehicle.
The date and time the vehicle owner was notified of the tow.
A list of any parts, accessories, or other items removed from the vehicle.
Itemized billing of all tow, service, and storage charges.
The date the vehicle was released.
A copy of the signed invoice, documenting the person claiming the vehicle, including a copy of the person's valid driver's license and proof of current valid insurance for the vehicle.
Upon request of a towed or serviced vehicle's owner or operator, a towing firm must provide a printed fee schedule. Each towing firm must post a copy of the printed fee schedule in plain view to the public in a conspicuous place at the towing firm's place of business.
The towing firm is solely responsible for the collection of towing, service, and storage fees from the owner of a towed or serviced vehicle.
All towing firm records, vehicles, equipment, and storage facilities are subject to inspection by the Police Department at any time during the towing firm's regular business hours.
The Police Department will prepare a customer complaint form and provide copies of the form to each towing firm. The towing firm must give a copy of the form to any customer who requests to file a complaint about the towing firm, its employees, or the services provided. The towing firm must promptly forward any completed complaint form that it receives to the Chief of Police.
The Chief of Police may temporarily suspend or permanently remove a towing firm from the roster maintained under § 476-10 if the Chief of Police determines that the towing firm:
Failed to respond promptly or provide adequate services in performing jobs on three or more occasions; or
Violated a term of its contract with the City; or
Violated a provision of this chapter.
If the Chief of Police suspends or removes a towing firm from the Police Department's roster, then the Police Department must send a written notice to the primary contact person identified by the towing firm. The notice must state that the towing firm has been temporarily suspended or permanently removed from the roster, specify the period of suspension, if applicable, and state the reason for the suspension or removal.
Any towing firm that has been suspended or removed from the Police Department's roster may appeal to the City Manager.
A towing firm must file a written notice of appeal with the City Manager within 14 days after the postmark date of the written notice required by § 476-25B.
The City Manager must conduct a hearing within 45 days of receipt of the notice of appeal, unless otherwise agreed by the City and the appellant. The City Manager will set the time and place for the hearing and provide notice of the hearing to the appellant.
The City Manager must issue a written order containing his or her findings and decision on the appeal within 45 days after the hearing is completed.
The decision and order of the City Manager on an appeal under this section is final.