Friday, November 20, 2009

Wreckers of New Haven

The speed and efficiency with which the police and wreckers of New Haven move cars out of the way of the street sweepers is sometimes astounding. It has got to be the single most efficient operation in the city. I sometimes see ten or twelve tow trucks staging up over on James Street by Criscuolo Park. They are always accompanied by at least two New Haven Police Department cars and they move out with all the choreography and energy of a well-planned military operation.

I have witnessed the same precision and speed in the East Rock neighborhood, where I have seen ten cars ticketed and towed in under 30 minutes. It is truly impressive.

While I like clean streets and see the need for litter and leaves to be cleared away so storm drains can remain clear, I do have a major issue with the way the City of New Haven handles these towing operations. Others in New Haven have already reported on the woefully-inadequate posting of signs the day before these out-of-season street sweepings happen. I have often wondered how the companies that do the towing get the contracts (and thus, the spoils).

But neither the lack of notice nor the opportunity for corruption bothers me as much as the blatant and dangerous disregard for traffic laws shown by both the police and the wrecker convoys. I have not had my video camera handy when I have witnessed speeding through neighborhoods and running of stop signs, but I will be prepared next time and I will lodge formal complaints with the city and the state.

Until I catch these police-sanctioned and –led convoys on tape, doing 45 mph on the streets of East Rock, blowing through stop signs, I would like to know if anyone else has witnessed similar happenings. If so, please leave a comment here letting me know. Maybe we can affect some change somehow. I hope it will not take a bad car accident or a killed pedestrian to call attention to this problem.

The recent revelation that the officer involved in this June’s fatal crash in Milford was driving 94 mph and probably racing has made clear the potential serious repercussions of police sanctioned law-breaking. I want clean streets, but not at the cost of serious injury or death.

4 comments:

  1. I would settle for out-of-season street sweeping, even if it brings a crazy convoy to my street. I would even settle for IN-season sweeping. Our street hasn't been swept since September. It is truly a mess. Thank you for reminding me to call DeStefano's office and rant!! But back to police-sanctioned law breaking...I have never seen the towing convoy drive like maniacs on our street. I have, however, seen NHPD vehicles roll stop signs and red lights on many occasions.

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  2. do my eyes deceive me, or is the 1st truck towing the others?

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  3. Well, Chris, I have not only witnessed the flawless operation you describe (and its related reckless driving), but also have suffered its consequences: My car has been towed TWICE in the past two months. As you well know, I travel often and I do not drive every day, so the likelihood that I miss the notices that inform of street cleaning the next day is quite high. It is extremely frustrating and a type of arbitrary behavior from the authorities that I am used to expect in other countries but surprised to encounter in the US.

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  4. My car has been towed TWICE in the past two months. As you well know, I travel often and I do not drive every day, so the likelihood that I miss the notices that inform of street cleaning the next day is quite high. auto wreckers

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