Monday, June 23, 2008

Towing Operator Backbiting In Madison County, NY photo

There's a lot of bickering and backbiting between towing operators in Madison County, New York, from what I can gather in a recent article on

Like many cities and counties, Madison County, New York uses a rotation system for towing vehicles involved in accidents, seizures, and break-downs which require police involvement. But, according to Dennis Fields of Sun Towing in Oneida, New York, the system has broken down and it's difficult or impossible to communicate with the 911 center.

I am hardly surprised. While the 911 Center is dealing with life and death, these towing operators want somebody as important as the sheriff of Madison County, New York, to straighten out whose precious "turn" it is on the rotation.

LIKE SO MANY OTHER TOWING OPERATOR ROTATION SYSTEMS IN OTHER PLACES (Yes, I've seen this before) confusion tend to start when a vehicle owner has a preferred tow operator OTHER THAN the next guy up on the list.

Then the question becomes, "Does that tow operator stay at the top of the list until they get a turn? Or do they go to the back of the line?"

Can busy 911 operators really be expected to care about scrupulous adherence to a rotation list, even when some towing operator keeps getting bumped? Or when a particular towing company seems to be preferred by a lot of people?

The towing companies sound like, well, "squabbling children on a playground" comes to mind. One can't help but think there should be a more automated and advanced system than (it sounds like) a clip board, not for the sake of divvying up the towing spoils but just because vehicle owners might like to know where the heck their cars went.

Yes, lost in this squabble between towing operators is the issue of ordinary citizens, and whether they are getting the choices and information from the towing system they really need. The biggest concern of the towing operators seems to be whether a special "liaison" could be appointed to deal with the sheriff's department when there are squabbles about whether somebody is getting their turn.

Seriously. A "liaison." Like somebody who mediates between two sovereigns.

At least one towing operator dared to suggest the field was (in the paraphrase of the reporter, Martha Conway) "rife for corruption, with those dispatching or responding to the scene able to influence car owners that one of their friends would be closer or somehow better."

Uh huh. Well, for the record I am a moderate who sees a need to work with towing operators as well as everybody else to improve the system, so right now I'm biting my figurative tongue to avoid throwing a few one-liners out there about who, exactly, was the one who came up with this idea about there being "corruption" associated with the towing industry.

Yes, I'm biting my tongue until it hurts.


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