Chapter 10.55


10.55.010    Impoundment of vehicles.

10.55.020    Violation – Penalty.

10.55.030    Existing control devices and markings.

10.55.040    Personal property inventory.

10.55.050    Inventories of impounded vehicles.

10.55.010 Impoundment of vehicles.

A. When a vehicle is placed in a manner or location that constitutes an obstruction to traffic or a hazard to public safety, a police officer shall order the owner or operator of the vehicle to remove it. If the vehicle is unattended, the officer may cause the vehicle to be towed and stored at the owner’s expense. The owner shall be liable for the costs of towing and storing, even if the vehicle was parked by another or if the vehicle was initially parked in a safe manner but subsequently became an obstruction or hazard.

B. The disposition of a vehicle towed and stored under authority of this section shall be in accordance with the procedures of the city relating to impoundment and disposition of vehicles abandoned on the city streets.

C. The impoundment of a vehicle will not preclude the issuance of a citation for violation of a provision of this title.

D. Stolen vehicles may be towed from public or private property and stored at the expense of the vehicle owner.

E. Whenever a police officer observes a vehicle parked in violation of a provision of this title or state law, if the vehicle has five or more unpaid violations outstanding against it, the officer may, in addition to issuing a citation, cause the vehicle to be impounded. An impounded vehicle shall not be released until all outstanding fines and charges have been paid. Vehicles impounded under authority of this subsection shall be disposed of in the same manner as provided in subsection B of this section. (Ord. 917 § 66, 1987)

10.55.020 Violation – Penalty.

A. Violation of Chapter 10.15 RMC is punishable by fine not to exceed $100.00.

B. Violation of Chapters 10.30 through 10.45 RMC is punishable by fine not to exceed $50.00.

C. Violation of a provision identical to a state statute is punishable by fine not to exceed the penalty prescribed by the state statute. (Ord. 917 § 67, 1987)

10.55.030 Existing control devices and markings.

Parking and traffic control devices and markings installed prior to August 17, 1987, are lawfully authorized. (Ord. 917 § 69, 1987)

10.55.040 Personal property inventory.

Personal property inventory provisions shall exclusively apply to the process for conducting an inventory of the personal property in an impounded vehicle and shall not be interpreted to affect any other statutory or constitutional rights that police officers may employ to search persons or search or seize possessions for other purposes. (Ord. 1013 § 1, 2003)

10.55.050 Inventories of impounded vehicles.

A. The contents of all vehicles impounded by a police officer shall be inventoried. The inventory shall be conducted before constructive custody of the vehicle is released to a third-party towing company except under the following circumstances:

1. If there is reasonable suspicion to believe that the safety of either the police officer or any other person is at risk, a required inventory will be done as soon as safely practical; or

2. If the vehicle is being impounded for evidentiary purposes in connection with the investigation of a criminal offense, the inventory will be done after such investigation is completed.

B. The purpose for the inventory of an impounded vehicle shall be to:

1. Promptly identify property to establish accountability and avoid spurious claims to property;

2. Assist in the prevention of theft of property;

3. Locate toxic, flammable or explosive substances; or

4. Reduce the danger to persons and property.

C. Inventories of impounded vehicles shall be conducted according to the following procedure:

1. An inventory of personal property and the contents of open containers will be conducted throughout the passenger and engine compartments of the vehicle including, but not limited to, accessible areas under or within the dashboard area, in any pockets in the doors or in the back of the front seat, in any console between the seats, under any floor mats and under the seats.

2. In addition to the passenger and engine compartments as described above, an inventory of personal property and the contents of open containers shall also be conducted in the following locations:

a. Any other type of unlocked compartments that are a part of the vehicle including, but not limited to, unlocked vehicle trunks and unlocked car-top containers; and

b. Any locked compartments including, but not limited to, locked vehicle trunks, locked hatchbacks and locked car-top containers, if either the keys are available to be released with the vehicle to the third-party towing company or an unlocking mechanism for such compartment is available within the vehicle.

3. Unless otherwise provided in this section, closed containers located either within the vehicle or any of the vehicle’s compartments will not be opened for inventory purposes.

4. Upon completion of the inventory, the police officer will complete a report as directed by the chief of police.

5. Any valuables located during the inventory process shall be listed in a police report or property receipt. A copy of the report or property receipt shall be available to the person in control of the vehicle. If valuables are removed from the vehicle, a property receipt will be filled out and a copy of the receipt will be left in the vehicle or with the person in charge of the vehicle. The valuables will be dealt with in such manner as directed by the chief of police. (Ord. 1013 § 2, 2003)