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Monday, February 16, 2009

Seven of Nine Columbus, OH City Tow Truck Drivers Laid Off

Here's the NBC4i story:

By Denise Yost
Managing Editor, nbc4i.com
Published: February 13, 2009

COLUMBUS, Ohio—City budget cuts continued Friday with another round of layoffs.

Seven of nine tow truck drivers with Columbus police have been laid off. Could their pink slips impact public safety?

The tow truck drivers are trained police drivers who are key to keeping evidence secure.

Columbus police tow truck drivers are trained to treat vehicles involved or around a crime scene as evidence. Now that seven of nine drivers will be cut, private tow truck drivers will have to be escorted by police officers to and from impound lots because of the vehicle evidence value.

The absence of the drivers also ties up officers who should be patrolling the streets, not escorting an empty vehicle.

In fact, according to Fraternal Order of Police President Jim Gilbert, there are five to ten vehicles a day involved in serious crimes that need police tow truck drivers.

In addition to the cuts, Sgt. Rich Weiner with Columbus police said city money will be lost because when a police cruiser breaks down, the division will have to pay a private tow truck company to pick them up.

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