Letter: Legalized ‘car-napping’ by the VPD

Published 7:23 pm Saturday, May 5, 2018

To the editor:

On Tuesday, April 24, while I was on a full one-week assignment for work in another state, VPD, without oral or written notice to me, had their contracted towing company tow my car that was sitting on the street in front of my home.  I received no Miranda warning, correspondence in the mail, visit from an officer, and notice left on my property to inform me that VPD had my car towed.  Had I not learned by happenstance that VPD towed my car, I would have been reporting a stolen vehicle to VPD. 

After stewing, visiting with city officials, complaining, having to pay $150 to get my car back, and studying the Ordinances, Article VIII, Section 16-300, (https://library.municode.com/ms/vicksburg/codes/code_of_ordinances?nodeId=COORVIMI), I write requesting the code be revised. My car was neither abandoned nor in disrepair.    

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During my face-to-face conversation with Police Chief Moore concerning this matter, I found him to be dismissive and unhelpful, and to project insensitivity, misplaced compassion, and unconcern towards me. I asked Chief Moore, “Why did I not receive a letter notifying me of the violation?”  Chief Moore responded, “The city is not going to send a letter; the officers have the ordinances and have been instructed to follow them; and just because something has been one way for 35 years does not mean it does not have to change.” I responded, “Do I need to call VPD every time I get ready to travel to ask them to please not tow my car?”  Chief Moore responded, “Now you’re getting stupid.” 

No citizen should suffer the financial burden, stress, and disrespect I did in this ordeal. I feel excruciatingly violated by VPD’s legalized car-napping. Chief Moore nonchalantly insinuated that VPD would rather provide $100-plus in income (tow fee) out of the pockets of a citizen to a local business than to provide the local citizen courteous, friendly, written or up-close-and-personal, face-to-face customer service. 

Chief Moore, please review VPD’s process for compliance with Article VIII, Section 16-300, and incorporate the following:

• Notify citizens in writing that they are violating a city ordinance to allow them the opportunity to comply.

• Leave a notice when the car is towed to let the citizen know what they did and how to have their property returned.

• Allow for extenuating circumstances such as the car owner working out of town or state or being hospitalized.    

• Establish an e-message with the citizens (similar to the Mayor’s) to periodically update the citizens.      


Bobbie Bingham Morrow