Prior to the adoption of Ord. 16077 on 07/06/1999, Section 14-306 read as follows.

    (a) Impoundment:

    (1)    Intent and purpose. This section is enacted as an enforcement procedure for protection of the public peace, safety and welfare, and the safeguarding of property, and shall be used generally for the prevention and removal of traffic hazards, prevention and abatement of public nuisances arising from traffic law violations, and for the protection of the public rights in the use of city streets and thoroughfares.

(2)  Authority. Any vehicle having against it five (5) or more unpaid summonses or other process issued within an eighteen-month period, charging that such the vehicle was parked, stopped or standing in violation of any law, ordinance or local authority of the city, shall be deemed is a public nuisance. and the p Police officers and any other agents of the city assigned to traffic duty parking enforcement officers are hereby authorized to impound such vehicle by means of a mechanical boot, or to have the vehicle towed remove or cause to be removed, at the sole cost and owner’s expense of the individual violator, such vehicle. Such police authority shall have the power, and is hereby authorized, to remove the vehicle by either private or governmental equipment to the city pound or such place of private impoundment as he may deem advisable.

    (3)    Procedure. Impoundment shall constitute either impoundment by means of a mechanical boot or by towing to a place of impoundment. A "mechanical boot" is hereby defined to be a device consisting of metal clamps or jaws, screws and a padlocking device, which, when attached to a wheel of the motor vehicle, prevents that vehicle from being driven. A mechanical boot shall also include any other device, including the patented "Denver boot," which can be used by attachment to a wheel of a motor vehicle to prevent it from being driven.

        a.    Impoundment by means of a mechanical boot shall be limited as follows:

            1.    Impoundment shall not exceed twenty-four (24) hours, except that a police officer of the city may extend or reduce the period because of safety or traffic considerations.

            2.    No vehicle shall be impounded unless such vehicle is found on a public street or public lot, and has accumulated five (5) or more unpaid summonses or other processes for the parking provisions of this chapter.

            3.    No vehicle shall be impounded within the traveled portion of any street or portion of any street or sidewalk when the impoundment in such place would create a hazard to the traffic or the public.

            4.    Upon the lapse of the time period enumerated herein and the failure of the registered owner or admitted operator to pay or bond the outstanding summonses or other processes as herein provided, the city shall tow or cause said vehicle to be towed to a place of impoundment.

            5.    The registered owner or admitted operator of such vehicle may secure removal of the mechanical boot within the twenty-four-hour period either by payment and satisfaction of all outstanding parking fines and all fees associated with the impoundment of the vehicle or by appearing at the traffic violations bureau, posting bond for such fines and fees and requesting a date to appear before the municipal court with respect to such charges.

        b.    No vehicle shall be impounded under the provisions of this subsection unless such the vehicle is on a public street or in a public lot; provided, however, that a motor vehicle may be towed from a private lot following a complaint by the owner of such lot and a determination by an officer of the city that such motor vehicle is in violation of the trespass provisions of this chapter.

    (4)    Entrance into impounded vehicles. If it is necessary to enter a locked or unlocked vehicle in order to impound such vehicle such entrance must be made in the presence of a commissioned police officer of the city. The police officer shall conduct a search of such vehicle as he deems necessary to protect the contents therein; provided, however, such search need not be a complete inventory.

    (b) Notice to Owner.

    (1)    Contents of notice attached to vehicle. Whenever the police department has impounded, by means of a mechanical boot, a vehicle described above, a notice shall be placed on the windshield of such impounded vehicle indicating the time and date such immobilization device was placed on the automobile, along with a brief description of the provisions of subsection (a)(3)a.5. hereof relating to the means of securing removal of such mechanical boot within the twenty-four-hour period.

    (2)    Mailing; unclaimed vehicles. Whenever the police department has impounded, by towing, a vehicle described above, a notice of such removal and the storage place of such vehicle shall be mailed to the last registered owner of such vehicle, if the name and address of such owner can be ascertained with reasonable diligence. Such notice shall state that if the owner fails to reclaim such vehicle within sixty (60) days from the date of the mailing, title to such vehicle will vest in the city and such vehicle will be sold at public auction to be held not sooner than thirty (30) days after the expiration of the sixty-day period contained in the notice.

    (c) Owner Responsibility. The registered owner of a vehicle having against it five (5) or more outstanding summonses shall be presumed to be the owner at the time the summonses were in fact issued and shall be severally responsible for the offenses and the impoundment, except where the use of the vehicle was secured by the operator without the owner's consent.

    (d) Responsibility for Vehicle Safety, Records and Reports. It shall be the duty of the police department to apply and remove the mechanical boot and to safely keep any such impounded vehicle until such vehicle shall have been repossessed by the owner or person legally entitled to possession thereof or otherwise disposed of as provided in this ordinance. The police department shall cause to be kept an accurate record of the description of such vehicle, including the name of the officer from whom such vehicle was received, the officer employed to tow or have delivered the same to such pound or authorized garage, the date and time when received, the place where found, seized or taken possession of, the make and color of car, style or body, kind of power, motor number, serial number, number of cylinders, year built, state license number, if any, equipment and general description of condition, the name and address of the person redeeming such vehicle, the date of redemption, and the manner and date of disposal of such vehicle in case the same shall not be redeemed, together with cost of outstanding summonses and the impoundment and storage charges. This record shall be in the form prescribed by the chief of police.

    (e) Release of Vehicle. Vehicles impounded pursuant to this section will be released to their lawful owner (or person entitled to possession) upon showing adequate evidence of a right to its possession and paying the payment of all accrued fines and costs for each outstanding unpaid summons, or depositing of the collateral required for his appearance in the municipal court of the city to answer for each violation for which there is an outstanding or otherwise unsettled traffic violation notice or warrant and, in addition thereto, the charges for impoundment and storage. The release should be signed by an authorized officer. All charges relating to the impoundment of vehicles by means of mechanical boot shall be as established by ordinance.

    (f) Sale of Impounded Vehicles:

Vehicles physically impounded by a private towing business may be sold pursuant to the procedure set out by state law.

    (1)    Notice of sale, disposition of proceeds. Whenever any impounded vehicle shall remain unclaimed by the owner or other person legally entitled to possession thereof for a period of thirty (30) days from the day notice to owner was mailed, it shall be the duty of the police department to sell such vehicle at public auction to the highest bidder for cash, the time and place of such sale to be published at least once in a newspaper of general circulation in the city, not less than ten (10) nor more than fifteen (15) days from expiration of such thirty (30) days. Such notice shall contain a full description of the vehicle to be sold and the time and place of sale; provided, that any such vehicle not sold at the first sale may be offered for sale and sold at any subsequent sale without further notice or publication. The proceeds of such sale, after paying all liens and deducting all reasonable charges and expenses incurred by such officer charged with the keeping of such pound, including those fees and charges herein specified in receiving, towing, keeping, preparing and giving notices, advertising for sale or selling or otherwise disposing of such vehicle, shall be paid to the city general fund.

    (2)    Payments to owner. If, within six (6) months from the date of sale of the vehicle as above provided, the owner of such vehicle so sold shall exhibit to the director of finance, or his designee, satisfactory proof of his/her ownership of such vehicle, the net proceeds of such sale derived after deduction of the hereinbefore described expenses shall be paid over and refunded to him/her.

    (3)    Disposition of unclaimed, unsold vehicles. Whenever any such impounded vehicle shall remain unsold after offering at public sale or shall remain unclaimed for a period of one hundred eighty (180) days from and including the day when the same shall have been delivered to any vehicle pound as in this section provided, such vehicle may be given to the use of any department of the city or other governmental agency desiring the same.

    (4)    Bidding by city employees prohibited. No member of the police department, nor any other employee of the city, directly or indirectly, shall purchase or participate in the bidding for, or purchase of, any vehicle offered for sale under the provisions of this section. This provision shall not affect the ability of any employee of the city to properly bid or purchase surplus, obsolete or unused property sold under the provisions of section 2-463.

    (5)    Destruction of valueless vehicles. If the vehicle shall be deemed by the chief of police of no value or of insufficient value to warrant storage and sale, and if no owner shall appear to redeem such valueless vehicle within thirty (30) days after the mailing of notice of its removal, which notice shall contain a statement that the vehicle is deemed to be of no value or of insufficient value to warrant storage and sale, and that it is the intention to dispose of or destroy such vehicle, to any owner whose name and address can be ascertained with reasonable diligence, or by publishing such notice in the official newspaper once, at least five (5) days before its destruction or other disposition. Such vehicle as above provided shall be conclusively deemed of no value and to be abandoned property, and there shall be no claim against the city, the chief of police, nor any of their agents or employees by reason of such destruction or disposition.

(Code 1964, §§ 12.780, 12.790, 12.795, 12.800, 12.805, 12.810)