Clean up in towing program underway by Detroit police after cloud of scandal, probe

The Detroit police chief announces changes in response to the investigation into the tow scandal

Part of Chief James White’s plan is to develop an app to tow citizens.

Three months after Detroit’s Mayor Mike Duggan asked the city police chief to review and correct towing practices in the city, Chief James White implements his plan

The new boss plans transparency and change comes in the form of a four-step process that begins with software and a set standard of practices.

“I am committed to ensuring that we have a transparent process,” said White. “Obtaining specialized tow management software, obtaining towing services using standard city practices.”

White said that a change in the system that has led to corruption and fraud in the past comes with overseeing the new practices as a precautionary measure.

“Increase accountability through a code enforcement unit,” he said. “This will be a civil unit to enforce the oversight law.”

The call for a change in the city’s towing practices comes after a state investigation into the wrongdoing in the Detroit City Council led to charges against then-Councilor Andre Spivey, who pleaded guilty and resigned from the council.

Councilors Janee Ayers and Scott Benson’s homes were searched in connection with the investigation, but none were charged

Two DPD members Lt. John Kennedy and Officer Daniel Vickers were recently charged with bribery in the investigation against illegal towing.

“I won’t find any excuses – I’ll make changes,” White said.

Part of Chief White’s change is a call for a citizen tow app to be developed.

“Citizens will be able to download the app,” he said. “When they request a towing service, they know at the front end who’s coming and what the cost is so that no one has to intervene to change the tower.”

Related: DPD official believes he witnessed a kickback program in Chene Park

Chief White believes these changes are critical steps in resolving the problem.

“That really eliminates chances,” he said. “And that’s the first part of these big changes.”

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