By Avi Patel
Orangeville, Ontario — July 29, 2013 — Orangeville Towing Association (OTA) members remain unsettled over alleged favouritism by the Orangeville police towards Chambers Towing. The issue alleged by towing assocation members is that towing operations in the area are being excluded in cases involving impounding of motor vehicles, with the business going to Chambers Towing only.
The OPS reached out to towing operations in the Orangeville area 15 years ago to put an end to wreck-chasing, where tow truck operations solicit their services to drivers involved in collisions, which many find unethical. With the cooperation of the towing services, the OTA was formed, mandating operators to set rules if they are to tow in the area. As with any towing association, implementing a rotating dispatch list is a rudimentary principle that ends wreck-chasing and multiple tow trucks showing up at the scene of an accident. This meant that the nine current towing operations in the Orangeville area would receive police calls in order from a central dispatch line, providing equal opportunity for business. However, some operators have been complaining for a few years now claiming the rotation dispatch list is not being maintained, and that in fact, Chambers Towing is being preferred.
The OPS asserts that its choice for using services from Chambers Towing is not out of favouritism, but necessity. “When a vehicle is seized by our police service, we assume all liability for the vehicle, and we rely on Chambers Towing for any vehicle seized for criminal or traffic offences because they provide an indoor, secure and climate-controlled environment and they are located in the town of Orangeville. It’s just risk management for us,” says Const. Scott Davis. “We use the rotation for motor vehicle collision, assistance and mechanical failures. Any time the police seize a vehicle for searches and expert examinations, Chambers [Towing] is who we currently use. We need to make sure its secure. One of our senior officers met with the people with concerns and it was decided that we would continue to use Chambers Towing for its secure storage.”
In a previous statement to the Orangeville Citizen, Cheif Joseph Tomei said very few vehicles are held for expert examination, and that the other towing operations were fighting over a very low percentage of occurrences. Const. Davis affirms, “I am one of the officers who does these examinations, it is a very infrequent occurrence.”
Dave Pettipas of Dave’s Towing, however, strongly disagrees. “I have been towing for the police for over 30 years. In my own experience after all these years, I can say that we used to respond to a police call almost every week or every 10 days, and now were doing a police call once every 6 to 8 weeks.”
Pettipas also says that he has a secure enclosed compound. “If we were approached properly, we would have even shared our storage with other companies who needed it.”