Councilman calls for suspension of current tow-truck operators

City Councilman Jim Kenney this afternoon formally asked that the police immediately suspend the list of tow-truck operators they call to clear the roads and remove cars after auto accidents.

In the aftermath of gunshots being fired involving two tow-truck companies, Kenney suggested that the police instead use the nine tow-truck operators already under contract to recover stolen vehicles. Those operators, he said, have been vetted in ways that the other have not.

Speaking at a City Hall news conference, the councilman also said he has requested the city's Licenses & Inspections Department to thoroughly review each of the 96 companies on the police department's rotating list of operators. He said his own office's review found complaints and violations filed against 19 of them, mostly for overcharging customers.

During what he estimated as a one or two month suspension period, Kenney said the city should try to determine if there is a better way to regulate the industry. Right now, L&I is responsible for some of that work, but the agency, which has lost personnel and money because of budget cuts, is "overwhelmed."

Who might do the work in its sted? The Philadelphia Parking Authority, he said, perhaps working with police and L&I officials.

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