8-8 Parking Enforcement and Vehicle Impoundment Procedures
Policy Type: Local
Responsible Office: Chief John Venuti, Virginia Commonwealth University Police Department
Initial Policy Approved: 11/29/2013
Current Revision Approved: 6/26/2018
The purpose of this policy is to establish the policy and procedures for the issuance of parking citations by officers and to provide administrative and enforcement guidelines for the use of citations. This directive also establishes the policy and procedures for the towing, seizure and storage of motor vehicles, and provides the proper guidelines for conducting a motor vehicle inventory.
All employees are expected to fully comply with the guidelines and timelines set forth in this written directive. Failure to comply will result in appropriate corrective action. Responsibility rests with the supervisor to ensure that any policy violations are investigated and appropriate training, counseling and/or disciplinary action is initiated.
Parking Enforcement Procedure
- The general parking enforcement function shall be the responsibility of VCU Parking and Transportation Services.
- VCUPD will make every effort to assist VCU Parking and Transportation with enforcement issues, as needed. Enforcement issues, such as events, temporary parking and parking affecting daily vehicular flow will be coordinated between the supervision within each department.
- VCUPD’s parking enforcement responsibilities are limited to university owned or operated property. A University Parking Services parking citation shall be used.
- Parking enforcement on Richmond City streets is limited to those areas within VCUPD’s jurisdictional boundaries and shall be enforced by utilizing a Richmond City parking citation.
- NOTE: City parking meters are not enforced by VCUPD.
- All VCU parking tickets will be controlled by Parking and Transportation. The Patrol Division will maintain an adequate supply of VCU parking tickets that will be kept in the Patrol Division.
- Upon completion of field training, new officers must be assigned a unit number by the Payroll/Personnel Services Manager for the issuance of any City of Richmond parking citation forms. A comprehensive VCUPD unit number list is provided periodically to the Richmond City General District Court for tracking purposes.
- City of Richmond parking citation forms are maintained in the Patrol Division at VCUPD Headquarters.
- Additional City of Richmond parking citation forms may be obtained in-person from the Richmond Department of Justice Services located at 501 N. Ninth St., Suite 1, Richmond, VA 23219.
Vehicle Impoundment Procedures
- The purpose of impounding and/or inventorying a vehicle or other personal property are as follows:
- To protect the owner’s property while the owner is in custody or elsewhere.
- Impoundment inventories will be performed any time a vehicle is impounded. The officer’s motive for impounding and inventorying must be protective and not investigative. If the officer’s motive in inventorying the vehicle or other property is investigatory, the officer shall obtain a search warrant.
- To protect the police against claims of lost or stolen property.
- To protect the police and public from physical harm from potentially dangerous contents of a seized vehicle or other personal property.
- NOTE: If an officer seeks to conduct an investigatory inventory, the officer shall request supervisory approval, obtain a search warrant and conduct the search without delay.
- The requirements for inventorying vehicles or other personal property are as follows:
- The officer shall have a lawful basis for acquiring custody of the vehicle or other personal property.
- All vehicles or other personal property impounded must be inventoried.
- Each inventory must be conducted promptly.
- The scope (area to be examined) of the inventory examination must be reasonable. A vehicle or other personal property should not be dismantled, in whole or in part, unless evidence found during the inventory indicates hidden compartments or property located in usually inaccessible areas.
- The following shall be impounded and inventoried:
- Vehicles which are abandoned
- Vehicles stored for safekeeping under the provisions of § 19.2-80.1.
- Vehicles which affect the efficient movement of vehicular traffic, impede traffic, or unattended/abandoned vehicles under the provisions of § 46.2-1209, § 46.2-1211, or as a result of a complaint received pursuant to § 46.2-1218. These include those involved in traffic accidents or disabled; moved for snow removal or parking violations; and other caretaking functions in which the vehicle is towed at the direction of the officer when the owner, operator or custodian of the vehicle is not present.
- Vehicles seized as evidence of a criminal offense.
- Vehicles that are administratively impounded under the provisions of Va. Code § 46.2-301.1.
- NOTE: If the officer discovers this fact after the process is initiated, they shall discontinue the impoundment and an attempt will be made to contact the rental company to pick up the vehicle in a timely manner. If the rental company is unable to pick up the vehicle in a timely manner, the officer should proceed with impoundment. If the impoundment is discontinued, the officer must notify the clerk for the General District Court and the DMV, if they were previously advised of the impoundment.
- Any other items of personal property lawfully coming into an officer’s possession which will be stored, including containers or other personal property in the possession of an arrestee.
- The following procedures shall be followed by all officers upon impoundment of a vehicle or other personal property:
- Conduct a prompt inventory - The vehicle inventory shall be conducted at the scene before the vehicle is towed, unless it is unsafe to do so. In which case, the inventory shall be conducted as soon as possible at a safe location. If the vehicle is locked and unattended, an inventory will only be conducted for items that are visible from the outside of the unattended vehicle.
- A careful examination should be made of the exterior and interior of a vehicle, including the engine compartment and trunk, as well as any containers in which property might be located. Containers need not be opened if their contents may be determined by examination of their exterior. If the glove compartment, trunk, or containers are locked, every effort should be made to obtain a key before access is gained by other means; however, these areas will not be opened if it cannot be done without damaging the vehicle or container, absent facts giving rise to a reasonable suspicion that the contents might constitute a danger to persons or property. Other personal property and its contents should be thoroughly examined.
- In the case of the vehicle impoundment, execute a Vehicle Impoundment Record (tow slip), listing all property located in the vehicle. In addition, if any property is removed from the impounded vehicle, list on the tow slip the identity of the property removed and the location where stored.
- The reporting officer shall complete a tow slip at the time the vehicle is stored and disseminate the original form and any copies as indicated on the form (White = Dispatch, Yellow = Tow Company = Pink = Officer, Gold = Owner).
- List any missing vehicle parts (including the engine compartment) or damage noted during the impoundment process in the “visible or known damage” column of the “Vehicle Information” section. Any damage caused by necessary forced entry of locked compartments shall also be noted.
- Arrange for the secure storage of the impounded vehicle and property. In cases where a vehicle is stored under the provisions of §19.2-80.1, impounded under the provisions of §46.2-301.1, or as a result of a traffic accident, and the owner, operator, or custodian is not present, the tow truck driver will be given only the keys to the vehicle. All other keys will be turned over to the owner, operator, custodian, or jailer. Officers shall indicate where the vehicle is stored and disposition of keys on the tow slip.
- Administrative Procedures
- Upon receipt of the tow slip at VCUPD Headquarters, the officer must write the associated CAD/IBR # on the top copy (carbon) and hand deliver it to Dispatch personnel located on the 3rd floor of VCUPD Headquarters. This number must also be inserted on the registered owner and storage facility copies, when applicable.
- When the form indicates that the vehicle has not been released, the owner’s copy of the report will be given to the tow truck driver for retention.
- Officers shall immediately advise Dispatch when a motor vehicle is stored, and upon receipt of this information, dispatchers will create and file a storage record within the CAD system. Dispatch shall maintain tow slips for three (3) years after the vehicle is sold or is no longer in use in accordance with the Library of Virginia’s State Record Retention Schedule (see Series No. 012300).
- If the owner of the vehicle is unaware, Dispatch will enter the vehicle into VCIN as stored.
This policy supersedes the following archived policies:
11/29/2013 - 8-8 Parking Enforcement and Impoundment Procedures