• Post cracking down on abandoned vehicles

  • Directorate of Emergency Services is urging soldiers not to abandon their vehicles in their new project Operation “Let it Tow.”

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  • Katie Peterson | Staff Writer
    Directorate of Emergency Services is urging soldiers not to abandon their vehicles in their new project Operation “Let it Tow.”
    “This operation has been in the works for some time now due to the massive amount of complaints from staff and soldiers. It is a postwide issue and we are attempting to fix the major areas first and expand as needed,” said Lt. Randall Collins Jr., traffic officer-in-charge.
    “Abandoned vehicles can be a major issue. Not only does it affect parking and Army readiness, but it can hurt the environment due to fluids and dilapidation of the vehicle. These vehicles can also be used for criminal activities such as drug distribution and prostitution just to name a few.”
    One of the biggest problem areas is the Single Soldier Quarters, Collins said, where there are currently 10 wrecked and abandoned vehicles.
    “The SSQ has limited parking space, which is needed for the single soldiers that live in the building to be effective and ensure Army readiness,” he said. “We have found multiple vehicles that have been left behind by individuals that have (separated from the service) and some that have no known owner or registration.”
    In dealing with abandoned vehicles, Fort Leavenworth follows Army Regulation 190-5, “Motor Vehicle Traffic Supervision,” and Combined Arms Center and Fort Leavenworth Regulation 190-5, which states, “No person shall abandon a motor vehicle that is either that person’s motor vehicle or a motor vehicle that the person is operating.”
    According to the regulation, several situations can lead to the impoundment of a privately-owned vehicle if it “interferes with ongoing operations, poses a security or safety risk to Fort Leavenworth, has been involved in criminal activity or has been abandoned.”
    These include the vehicle being illegally parked; it interferes with traffic, including street cleaning and snow removal; it has been used in a crime or has evidence of criminal activity; the owner of the vehicle has been apprehended and cannot arrange for lawful transportation of the vehicle; the vehicle is mechanically defective and the owner is unwilling or unable to have it towed; the vehicle has been abandoned; or the vehicle is uninsured and there is no reasonable expectation that the owner can acquire insurance.
    Once any of the above reasons are determined, military police will tag the vehicle with a notice of abandoned vehicle and note it in a journal. The owner then has 72 hours to remove the vehicle or it will be towed at the owner’s expense.
    “Notwithstanding the foregoing, the DES may immediately tow an apparently abandoned vehicle if the circumstances warrant,” the regulation states.
    Once a vehicle is impounded, the MP will fill out a vehicle impoundment report, which includes an inventory of the vehicle’s contents. A notice of impounded vehicle will be mailed to the owner if he or she is not present for the impounding.
    Page 2 of 2 - Finally, a vehicle that is impounded for evidentiary purposes may be held until it is no longer needed. All other vehicles will be held until they are claimed by the owner under Kansas state law.
    “If a vehicle is not claimed within 120 days of the impoundment, the DES shall follow the procedures in Army Regulation 190-5, paragraph 6-6(b), which governs the disposition of abandoned vehicles,” the regulation states.
    Collins said a soldier’s chain of command is often part of locating owners before a vehicle is towed.
    “If the command can take action to resolve the issue, we usually allow it,” Collins said. “The command can give a direct order to individuals and take action as needed.
    “I would recommend that if a vehicle is out of service that the owner contact the MP station and building manager, and leave a note on the inside of the windshield letting everyone know why the vehicle will be in that location for an extended period of time.”
    Collins said the public can help DES identify abandoned vehicles.
    “We have found that people tend to try and hide these vehicles by backing them into stalls, covering the (vehicle identification number) from inside the vehicle and putting them in places that can conceal that they are abandoned,” Collins said. "See something, say something."
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