The Mt. Laurel Police Department is looking to improve traffic safety and efficiency with possible changes with how it handles towing companies.
Mt. Laurel Council is considering an ordinance that would amend the township’s contracts with towing companies. The township contracts towing companies to remove disabled vehicles from township roads or tow vehicles following an accident.
According to Chief of Police Dennis Cribben, the township currently has 10 contracts with companies for light vehicle towing and 10 contracts for heavy vehicle towing. His proposal would reduce the number by requiring companies to perform light and heavy duty towing.
“We would eliminate our contractors from 10 to six, because only six can handle heavy-duty tows,” Cribben said.
There are some concerns about the effect on service the changes may have. During a discussion at the May 19 council meeting, Councilman Jim Keenan questioned whether there would be a negative effect on township services.
Cribben said reducing the number of towing companies should not have any effect. He said having six towing companies should not result in any shortage.
“We’ll still be able to maintain a towing ability throughout the township,” he said. “We’ve never had a problem getting a tow.”
Forcing tow companies to tow both light and heavy vehicles is expected to make calling a tow simpler. Cribben said there have been times where Burlington County dispatchers will call a tow from the wrong list because of communication difficulties. Having just one list will eliminate any confusion.
Cribben also believes his proposals would improve efficiency within the police department in a variety of ways. For example, one proposal would extend towing contracts from one year to two. This, combined with a reduction in the number of towing companies contracted, would cut down on administrative work.
“It’s very time intensive,” Cribben said. “It’d be more efficient to do it every other year.”
The police department is also looking to make changes with how the towing companies operate. By having several tow companies on a bi-weekly call cycle, Cribben believes the towers will respond more efficiently if they are on call.
“They can pre-position equipment and have personnel readily available,” he said.
The township charges a fee of $100 for light-duty towing and $100 for heavy-duty towing. Cribben proposed merging the two fees and charging a $200 fee. The fees help to offset the police department’s administrative costs.
Township officials and council are reviewing the proposed changes. A revised ordinance could be on the agenda as early as the June 9 council meeting.