Kevin Keenan from the ACLU talks to NBC 7 reporter Diana Guevara and says Escondido is using their DUI Checkpoint and Towing program to make a profit.
The American Civil Liberties Union is threatening to sue the city of Escondido. The city did an audit after the ACLU accused Escondido of making a profit off of its DUI Checkpoint and Towing Program.
The ACLU also sent Escondido a public records request. But after receiving 3,000 pages worth of documents from the city of Escondido, they say none of those documents answer their questions.
The ACLU says they have yet to see proof that the city of Escondido is not trying to profit from its DUI Checkpoint and Towing Program. They also say the City of Escondido has increased the costs for its checkpoint program by 500 percent while padding their books with additional labor costs.
In the audit, the city states the revenue collected from the towing companies is equal to the expenses of the towing program.
The city also said they plan to reassess their fees because they are experiencing a decline in their number of tows.
But the ACLU says that does not make sense since there dollar amount has doubled. Meanwhile, they are demanding to see a paper trail.
“State rules say you have to create these documents about the money you get from the OTS. Where are your documents? State law says your fees can only be actual and reasonable for the administrative costs. Where is the paper trail proving to the public that your fees are in fact actual and reasonable?” asked ACLU’s Legal Director David Loy.
“The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has excluded, as program income, any revenue raised as a result of police activity and fees collected for towing and storage as part of a legal law enforcement action, are not program income,” said Chris Cochran with the OTS.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gives money to the state for this program.
The OTS did not want to provide any other details about their agreement with Escondido but they said, according to their records the city is in compliance.
Meanwhile, the ACLU says they still have a lot of questions and if the city of Escondido fails to come forward, they will pursue legal action.