LAPD Ends Temporary Moratorium On Vehicle Impounds

September 11, 2007

Los Angeles: Los Angeles Police Chief William Bratton today announced to members of the Los Angeles Police Commission his intent to end a temporary moratorium on vehicle impounds.

On August 21, 2007, the Department announced a temporary moratorium of certain vehicle impounds while awaiting a clarification from the Office of the City Attorney. The issue was the Department’s current policy on vehicle impounds, the 30-day hold, and whether or not the policy constitutes an unreasonable seizure, defined under the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments of the United States Constitution.

Last week the Office of the City Attorney forwarded its opinion as to the constitutionality of vehicle impounds under the provisions of the Fourth Amendment. After a careful review and in consideration of the Office of the City Attorney’s opinion, the Department has made minor modifications to the current policy governing the impoundment of vehicles.

Department employees will continue to enforce the provisions set forth in the California Vehicle Code, and when warranted, impound the vehicles of those drivers who are unlicensed or have a suspended or revoked license. However, as with any situation, officers will apply "reasonableness" with respect to the impoundment of a vehicle. Once a vehicle is impounded and where legally mandated, the 30-day hold will remain in effect. Discontinuation of the moratorium goes into effect September 12, 2007.

Public safety and the efficient movement of vehicular and pedestrian traffic have been and will remain critical priorities of the Department.

For additional information, please contact Media Relations Section, at 213-485-3586.