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Guidelines for towing vehicles within the Chicago Police Department.


  • Abandoned Vehicle – A vehicle in a state of disrepair which renders it incapable of being driven, or any vehicle that has not been moved or used for seven consecutive days or more and is apparently deserted.
  • NOTE: Officers WILL NOT complete a Tow Case Report for abandoned autos, a City Service Request Form shall be utilized for removal of abandoned autos. Once completed the City Service Form will be submitted to the Community Policing Office. The only acceptable instances when an Officer may complete a Tow Report are those when the abandoned vehicle presents a clear and present danger to the safety of the community.

  • Confidential VIN Check – A request for a check of a vehicle when: 1) the VIN number does not match the description of the vehicle; 2) the VIN has been altered, removed or tampered with; or 3) ownership is questioned.
  • Hold for Investigation – A hold placed on a towed vehicle used in the commission of a crime which is needed for further investigation or court evidence and must be held more than five days.
  • Medical Examiner Case – Tow of a vehicle when the owner or driver dies under suspicious or unusual circumstances is involved in a traffic crash, dies by criminal violence, suicide, by accidental death, or if deceased was unattended by a licensed physician.
  • Public Administrator Case – Tow of a vehicle in which the owner’s death has occurred and has been ruled a Public Administrator’s case, or is part of a deceased person’s estate impounded at the request of the Public Administrator.
  • Seizure – Tow of any vehicle, vessel, or aircraft used with the knowledge and consent of the owner in the commission of, or in the attempt to commit a crime, which is seized under 625 ILCS 5.0/4-107-K or 720 ILCS 5.0/36-1.
  • Wanted For Investigation – Vehicles wanted in connection with an offense other than auto theft (burglary, deceptive practice, robbery, etc.). A vehicle that is wanted for investigation should not be entered, touched, or moved until the appropriate investigative unit is notified via the Office of Emergency Management and Communication (OEMC) and, if necessary, forensic processing is completed unless circumstances exist which threaten the safety of police personnel or others.


  • Impound / Seizure Report – Fax a copy to The Department of Administrative Hearings
  • Gold Copy – Mail to the Department of Streets and Sanitation – Traffic Services
  • Pink Copy (Impound / Seizure) – Mail to the Asset Forfeiture Section
  • Pink Copy (Tows) – Send to the District / Unit Review Office
  • White Copy – Give to the Tow Truck Driver
  • Yellow Copy – Give to the Respondent / Arrestee


Keys and Key Fobs are required to be attached to the Vehicle Tow Report or Vehicle Impoundment / Seizure Report, sealed in a small Evidence Envelope (CPD-33.101), in the following instances ONLY:

  • Confidential VIN Checks
  • Holds for Investigation
  • Impounds for Cannabis More than 30 grams or Narcotics More than 2 grams
  • Seizures – Any Type (Zip Tie Keys to Steering Wheel)

In all other instances the keys shall be returned to the person authorized to possess the keys (a registered owner / authorized or designated driver) or inventoried accordingly.

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In addition to those violations listed on the Impound / Seizure Report the towing of vehicles involved in the following MCC violations is also authorized:

  • 10-8-480 – Casting Refuse and Liquids
  • 9-80-225 – Display of False, Stolen, or Altered Disability Parking Device
  • 7-28-440(b) – Dumping on Real Estate Without Permit
  • 8-4-130 – Possession of Etching Materials, Paint or Marker with Intent to Deface
  • 9-32-040 – Reckless Driving at, or Interfering with, a Funeral Procession
  • 720 ILCS 5.0/11-14.1 – Solicitation of a Sexual Act
  • 9-92-035 – Unlawful Attempt to Flee or Elude
  • 15-20-270 – Unlawful Fireworks in Motor Vehicle

In all other instances the keys shall be returned to the person authorized to possess the keys (a registered owner / authorized or designated driver) or inventoried accordingly.


Private tow drivers are required to release a vehicle, even when hooked, if the owner or operator of the vehicle is on scene, provided the vehicle has not entered the public way (i.e. exited the parking lot or property towed from). This rule DOES NOT apply to vehicles towed from city property, or those circumstances delineated above under “Definitions & Reasons for Towing.”

Reference Sources

  • S.O. 07-03 Add. 5 – Impoundment of Vehicles for Municipal Code Violations (Eff. 13 NOV 13)
  • S.O. 07-03 Add. 6 – Seizure and Forfeiture of Vehicles, Vessels, and Aircraft (Eff. 01 NOV 14)
  • G.O. 07-03 – Vehicle Towing and Relocation Operations (Eff. 01 NOV 14)
  • CPD-11.413 – Vehicle Tow Report (Rev. 3/15)
  • CPD-34.347 – Vehicle Impoundment / Seizure Report (Rev. 3/15)