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14C.10.030 Inventories of Impounded Vehicles.

A.  The contents of all vehicles impounded by a police officer will be inventoried.  The inventory shall be conducted before constructive custody of the vehicle is released to a third-party towing company except under the following circumstances:

1.  If there is reasonable suspicion to believe that the safety of either the police officer(s) or any other person is at risk, a required inventory will be done as soon as safely practical; or

2.  If the vehicle is being impounded for evidentiary purposes in connection with the investigation of a criminal offense, the inventory will be done after such investigation is completed.

B.  The purpose for the inventory of an impounded vehicle will be to:

1.  Promptly identify property to establish accountability and avoid spurious claims to property;

2.  Assist in the prevention of theft of property;

3.  Locate toxic, flammable or explosive substances; or

4.  Reduce the danger to persons and property.

C.  Inventories of impounded vehicles will be conducted according to the following procedure:

1.  An inventory of personal property and the contents of open containers will be conducted throughout the passenger and engine compartments of the vehicle including, but not limited to, accessible areas under or within the dashboard area, in any pockets in the doors or in the back of the front seat, in any console between the seats, under any floor mats and under the seats;

2.  In addition to the passenger and engine compartments as described above, an inventory of personal property and the contents of open containers will also be conducted in the following locations:

a.  Any other type of unlocked compartments that are a part of the vehicle including, but not limited to, unlocked vehicle trunks and unlocked car- top containers; and

b.  Any locked compartments including, but not limited to, locked vehicle trunks, locked hatchbacks and locked car-top containers, if either the keys are available to be released with the vehicle to the third-party towing company or an unlocking mechanism for such compartment is available within the vehicle.

3.  Unless otherwise provided in this Chapter, closed containers located either within the vehicle or any of the vehicle’s compartments will not be opened for inventory purposes.

4.  Upon completion of the inventory, the police officer will complete a report as directed by the Chief of such officer’s department.

5.  Any valuables located during the inventory process will be listed on a property receipt.  A copy of the property receipt will either be left in the vehicle or tendered to the person in control of the vehicle if such person is present.  The valuables will be dealt with in such manner as directed by the Chief of the police officer’s department.