ACLU Demands Audit of Escondido Police Department

They believe Escondido is using their checkpoints for immigration purposes

A well known watchdog group is demanding an audit of a North County Police Department.

The American Civil Liberties Union has released a report alleging that the Escondido Police Department is violating state law with its checkpoint program. 

ACLU Executive Director Kevin Keenan says they have been concerned with the misuse of checkpoints for years.

They believe Escondido is using theirs for immigration purposes.

In their report “Wrong Turn: Escondido’s Checkpoints and Impound Practices Examined”, ACLU also alleges that Escondido has been creating new expenses to charge higher tow truck fees and then pocket the rest.

Chief Jim Maher tells our media partner the North County Times that the report is biased and is aimed at stopping the department's checkpoints.

He also said the checkpoints are used to make Escondido streets safer, not to generate money for the city.

Still, the ACLU says their practices are questionable.

“They’ve [raised] the number of staff people they say it takes to administer towing to very few hours, five to seven years ago to tremendous hours today. And we're concerned that their real interest is profit making and going after immigrants,”

Escondido City Manager Clay Phillips released this statement in response: "The City made every effort to ensure the towing fees we established reflect our costs. However, to address questions raised by the media, I have asked the Finance Department to conduct a review of our towing fees. I expect I will have that review by March 29,” said Phillips.

We tried to get an interview with the Escondido police department today, but a spokesman says they are not making any further comments.

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