LOUISVILLE, Ky. — The first amnesty period at the Louisville Metro Police Department's (LMPD) impound lot began this week, with many car owners getting the chance to get their vehicles back from the tow lot without paying any fees.
LMPD Major Emily McKinley said 89 cars have been picked up from the tow lot.
From Jan. 17 through Jan. 21, fees were waived for those picking up their vehicle from the tow lot at 1487 Frankfort Ave.
"LMPD is committed to improving the safety of our streets and community and this is one step in that direction," McKinley said. "The Amnesty Period will allow people to retrieve their vehicles and alleviate overcrowding in the city’s tow lot."
It's part of an ongoing effort by Metro leaders to free up space inside the lot, which has been overflowing for months. Earlier this month, the Mayor's Office said it's often over capacity by around 200 cars.
The lot will be open to the public Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
LMPD is asking for residents to schedule an appointment ahead of time to retrieve their vehicles by calling 502-574-7078.
The amnesty ordinance, which provides 30 total amnesty days for the year, was approved by the Louisville Metro Council in mid-December and signed by Mayor Greg Fischer earlier this month.
The ordinance gives the Metro Public Works director the ability to declare an amnesty period, which can't exceed 30 days, and the ability to waive storage fees.
Prior to the amnesty period, residents had to pay $85 to pick up a vehicle that was impounded. The hope is to eliminate financial barriers.
There could be additional fees depending on how long the vehicle had been held as well, which was one of the reasons the impound lot became overcrowded.
To pick up a vehicle from the impound lot during this period, LMPD said individuals would need to bring:
- A state-issued photo ID
- Proof of insurance
- Must be registered owner of the vehicle OR
- have a notarized statement from the registered owner giving someone else permission to claim the vehicle. Notarized statements must include the make, model, color and VIN of the vehicle.
- Driver must have a valid driver's license to drive the vehicle off the property
As of Monday afternoon, an LMPD spokesperson said they didn't get many calls Monday morning, but starting at noon they began to see more -- including folks showing up in-person for pick-ups.
"This is the first time we've ever done something like this," said McKinley, who also said she hopes people will take advantage.
"So this week is going to be the tell-all for how we strategize and do things in the future. After this week, we'll probably have a better answer of when we do this in the future, how we decide when we're going to do this, and [to know] how much of an impact it is going to have," said McKinley.
Police said on Wednesday that in the first two days of the amnesty period, 30 vehicles have been picked up. They plan to release the week's total on Friday.
"People are going to be calling me to get their cars off the lot," predicted Jesse Hunter with "It's Me Jesse" towing company. On Monday afternoon, Hunter was towing an auctioned-off car from the lot and to a customer.
Hunter said he expects this to turn at least some heads.
"I haven't gotten any yet, but it's still early," he said. "Some of them might not [do it] because their cars are totaled."
The overcrowding inside the tow lot has led to an increasing issue of abandoned vehicles on sides of roads across the Metro, a potential safety hazard at times.
"We do want the ability to prioritize those as well," McKinley said.
The amnesty days are part of the city's remedy, but not the whole solution. Mayor Fischer has announced plans to create a new auction lot in Shively to expand space, as well. Those plans will be heard by Metro Council's Development Review Committee on Wednesday.
By the end of the week, the Metro will sit at 25 amnesty days left to use for the remainder of the year.