(A)   Authority to tow. The Police Department and all members thereof assigned to traffic duty are hereby authorized to remove and tow away or cause the removal and towing away by a commercial towing service of:
      (1)   Any vehicle illegally parked in any place where such parked vehicle creates or constitutes a traffic hazard, blocks the use of a fire hydrant or obstructs or may obstruct the movement of any emergency vehicle; or
      (2)   Any vehicle which has been parked in any public street or other public place for a period of 24 consecutive hours.
   (B)   Signage.  Appropriate signs shall be posted on the highways and rights-of-way at all entrances to the city and on any other city property where towing is authorized, stating the authority of the city to tow vehicles pursuant to division (A), and providing the information necessary to contact appropriate city officials to determine the location of towed vehicles and the means of reclaiming them.
   (C)   Storage of towed vehicles. Vehicles so towed away shall be stored on any city property, in a public garage or parking lot, or on the premises of a commercial towing service, and shall be restored to the owner or operator thereof after payment of the expense incurred by the city for removing and storing such vehicles.
   (D)   Procedures. The following procedures shall be followed in the event of towing:
      (1)   The registered owner of the vehicle shall be notified, by telephone if possible, but in any case by certified mail or personal service, of the identity and location of the vehicle, the process for requesting a hearing, and the fees and costs which must be paid to reclaim the vehicle;
      (2)   If the registered owner of the vehicle waives the right to a hearing, such owner shall be required to execute a written statement of waiver, indicating that such owner was informed of the right to a hearing, and has knowingly elected to waive such right;
      (3)   If a hearing is requested, it shall be conducted not more than one business day after the request. If a prompt hearing cannot be provided, the vehicle shall be released to the registered owner upon proof of ownership, and the issue of responsibility for payment of towing and storage fees shall be determined at a later court hearing;
      (4)   All hearings shall take place at City Hall, and the Chief of Police or his or her designee shall act as the hearing officer. At the hearing, the owner or person responsible for the vehicle shall be allowed to present evidence and cross examine witnesses, and may have an attorney present. All hearings shall be tape recorded and the record of the hearing shall contain the date and time of the hearing, the names of the parties, and the findings and determination of the hearing officer;
      (5)   If the hearing officer rules in favor of the owner or person responsible for the vehicle, all fines, fees and towing and storage costs shall be waived. If the hearing officer rules that the vehicle was removed for proper cause, then the vehicle shall not be released until the owner or person responsible for the vehicle pays all fines and towing and storage charges;
      (6)   Before the owner or person legally entitled to possession of any impounded vehicle shall be permitted to retrieve the vehicle, evidence shall be provided as to the identity of the person claiming the vehicle, and of such person's ownership or legal right to possession thereof. Upon delivery of such vehicle, the owner or person claiming it shall execute a receipt for such vehicle;
      (7)   The city shall maintain a record of vehicles towed, identifying each such vehicle, stating the date it was towed, the location towed from and to, the reason for towing, and the name of the person authorizing the tow.
(Ord. 02-80, passed 4-8-03)