That decision by the LAPD last month to cut some drivers a break if they're snagged in a DUI/drivers license checkpoint and happen to be without a license was met with a “class action grievance” by the police union.

The Los Angeles Police Protective League ain't happy with the change. Instead of impounding vehicles for 30 days, officers will now give the cars of unlicensed drivers to registered owners or their friends and family if they can get to the scene quickly.

The change was meant to be …

… more kind to undocumented workers, especially after immigrants' rights groups complained that the checkpoints were like shooting fish in a barrel as far as impounding illegals' cars were concerned.

One problem is that illegals can't get drivers licenses in California, though at one point they could. And well, we have lots of undocumented people in this town washing dishes, cutting grass, and washing cars. And they don't all take the bus.

So the LAPD switched up to make it clear that the checkpoints aren't about impounding cars for a profit.

But the LAPPL says hold on sec, via blog:

The California Vehicle Code clearly defines the grounds for “Impoundment and Forfeiture of Motor Vehicles.” Under Vehicle Code Section 14607.6 (c) (1):

“If a driver is unable to produce a valid driver's license on the demand of a peace officer enforcing the provisions of this code, as required by subdivision (b) of Section 12951, the vehicle shall be impounded regardless of ownership … “

The union argues that the LAPD shouldn't be making state vehicle code policy through its own directives.

The LAPPL says the city needs the extra money, the threat of losing their vehicles is good insurance against unlicensed drivers, and that the policy “exposes officers and the City to potential legal liability stemming from any damage or injury caused by an unlicensed driver's continued operation of a vehicle that should have been impounded under state law.”

The union's grievance seeks to return to the old policy of mandatory impounds for all unlicensed drivers.

What do you think?

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