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New vehicle tow rules & fees approved in Hampshire

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Updated: December 6, 2012 6:08AM



HAMPSHIRE — The village board has given the go-ahead for police to tow and impound motor vehicles involved in certain criminal offenses in the village such as drunken driving and license violations.

Under the new ordinance approved Thursday night, vehicles can be towed and impounded for the following offenses: driving under the influence of alcohol, drugs, an intoxicating compound or compounds, or any combination of these substances; driving while a driver’s license, permit or privilege to operate a motor vehicle is suspended or revoked; driving with an expired driver’s license if the period of expiration is greater than one year; and operating a motor vehicle without ever having been issued a license or permit.

Vehicles will not be subject to seizure or impoundment if the suspension of a driver’s license is for an unpaid citation (parking or moving) or due to failure to comply with emissions testing.

In addition to any towing and storage fees that result from the tow and impoundment of the vehicle, the ordinance will allow the village to assess a penalty fee of up to $500 to reimburse the police department for the additional time and administrative expense involved in handling the offense, officials said.

The village previously did not have the means to assess fees against these types of offenses.

“State law was recently changed to allow non-home-rule entities (such as Hampshire), after passage of an ordinance, to impose a fee to recover these expenses,” said Village Administrator Doug Maxeiner.

According to the ordinance, the registered owner of the vehicle will be responsible for paying the fees and any penalties that may be assessed.

The village will retain the services of a hearing officer to determine any appeals of towing and impoundment.

Fees would not apply to a vehicle that had been stolen at the time of the towing and impoundment, if the theft had been reported to authorities within 24 hours of its discovery and proof of the theft is presented to the village.

Police estimate that “between 80 and 90 cases occur annually where vehicles could be subject to the tow. The vast majority of these cases involve operators from outside the village,” according to the department.

Siren change

In other business, the board approved a price quote of $4,655 from Braniff Communications of Crestwood to convert the village’s early warning sirens from wideband radio frequencies (25 MHz) to narrowband (12.5 MHz).

“The Federal Communications Commission and the Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau announced some time ago that all public safety agencies (and industrial/business licenses) will be required to convert existing radios from wideband to narrowband frequencies by Jan. 1, 2013,” said Maxeiner. “The move was made to relieve congested radio airspace and increase channel availability for public safety systems. The FCC recently reaffirmed the Jan. 1, 2013, deadline.”

He said the village has four early warning sirens manufactured by Federal Signal that operate on the wideband platform.

“Due to their age, three of the four require significant upgrades to be able to operate on the narrowband platform,” Maxeiner said. “Upon learning of the FCC reaffirmation of the deadline, staff sought quotes to convert the sirens to comply with the narrowband requirement. Braniff Communications is the only authorized factory repair vendor serving the northern Illinois area for Federal Signal equipment and is the only source from which to obtain these services. Funding for the project will be absorbed within the operating budget of the village’s general fund.”



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