The Los Angeles Police Department has a new policy that has created a ton of controversy recently. The new policy permits unlicensed drivers from avoiding month-long car impounds. The policy is being challenged by the police officers from the department itself. A police officer union, the Los Angeles Protective Police League (LAPPL), has already filed a lawsuit this week that asks the court to stop the policy. The LAPPL claims that the policy could allow cars to be released only one day after an unlicensed driver is pulled over during a traffic stop.
The new policy goes directly against a state law that requires vehicles to be impounded for 30 days. The new policy from the department is scheduled to take effect when the month of April ends. The LAPPL, in a press release, described the policy as a ‘catch-22’ for police officers who could be held liable in lawsuits should an unlicensed driver injure or kill someone else less than 30 days after being pulled over by police in a traffic stop. The LAPPL also brought up the state law and how the policy goes against it.
League President Tyler Izen said that the lawsuit does not involve undocumented immigrants. “As sworn officers of the City of Los Angeles and peace officers of the State of California,” said Izen. “Police are required to enforce all applicable state traffic laws, irrespective of a traffic violator’s immigration status.”
Charlie Beck, the LAPD Chief of Police, said that the current policy creates a burden for hard-working undocumented immigrants because of the lengthy impound period and the $1,400 fine. He said that undocumented immigrants cannot obtain state driver’s licenses and usually work jobs for minimum wage. Beck has also campaigned for provisional driver licenses in California. He said that an increase in regulations for the estimated 250,000 undocumented, unlicensed drivers in the city could help make the roads safer and prevent fewer accidents.