Wrecker and Impound Changes May Help Dallas Drivers

Faster wreck removal from accident scenes is a goal

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Dallas drivers could notice changes proposed to oversight of wreckers and the Dallas Auto Pound by city management.

The goal is faster removal of wrecks from accident scenes and better service at the pound according to Assistant City Manager Jon Fortune who wrote a memo to City Council this week.

Customer Zach Shomali Wednesday paid his third visit to the auto pound, trying to retrieve his stolen pickup truck that was stored at the giant lot on Vilbig Road near I-30.

“It is horrible. It is slow, rude. Very rude service,” he said.

He brought the paperwork he thought necessary but he was turned away again.

The memo says the city plans to seek proposals from private firms that would take over operation of the auto pound, freeing police officers who staff it now.

“A private security force out there, get the officers back on the street, the officers need to be on the street, not sitting at the auto pound,” said Lance Lobarda with Walnut Hill Wrecker Company.

But he is not convinced about another proposed change to replace police dispatch of wreckers with a private firm.

“I don't think you want to fix something that's not broken. It's not broken,” Lobarda said.

Currently, Dallas is divided into seven zones with wrecker companies assigned in each to either stand by on the scene or respond within time limits to police dispatch for wrecks.

“When there's an accident, everybody goes slow, both directions,” Driver Hector Lomas said.

He and driver Claudia Ortiz at a Dallas I-30 QT filling station said they like the city goal of faster wreck removal from accident scenes.

“We just stay stuck in traffic and everybody is late for work, yea,” Ortiz said.

The city memo said GPS tracking of wreckers could be required to pinpoint the location of each one for faster response.

Lobarda said the current Dallas method of wrecker response to accidents is already better than many other cities.

“Everything can be refined, but I think the local towers need to have a shot at refining it before anybody from the outside comes in,” Lobarda said.

Customer Zach Shomali said he is anxious for change at the auto pound.

“I think the first step needs to be getting whatever private company you are talking about and getting everybody the hell out of here. Everybody that works in here, fire them,” he said.

A Dallas Police Spokesman referred a request for comment to Dallas City Hall.

Assistant Dallas City Manager Jon Fortune who wrote the memo said a goal of any change is better service and local companies would have a chance to compete for the work.

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