Impounding the vehicles of unlicensed drivers is a discretionary call for police officers, one that can be an expensive hardship for immigrant workers in Sonoma County.
Once a vehicle has been impounded, the law dictates that it will be held for the full 30 days, but the owner can request a hearing to get it released soon. Sgt. Dough Schlies of the Santa Rosa Police Department, explains how that process works.
Here's the full explanation of the Santa Rosa Police Department policy governing the release of impounded vehicles.
While acknowledging that the law grants police officers individual discretion to decide whether or not to call in a tow truck when they find an unlicensed driver, Davin Cardenas, an activst and organizer with the Committee on Immigrants Rights of Sonoma County is concerned that those decisions often vary widely. And he suspects that in at least some cases, ethnic profiling is involved.
From the announcement of the Halloween Day march in Santa Rosa:
"On October 31st, the Committee for Immigrants Rights of Sonoma County will sponsor a march and symbolic Trick or Treat at City Hall to bring awareness about the impounding of immigrants automobiles. We want to let people know what we are asking for, as well as what our responsibilites are in order to bring change about. Bring the kids! Bring a costume! We will also be promoting the usage of safer forms of transportation, such as carpooling, bicycles (bring your bikes!), and walking. There will be face painting prior to the march, as well as a whole lot of candy.
Where: Begin at 665 Sebastopol Road, Santa Rosa, Ca (Dollar Tree parking lot)
End at Santa Rosa City Hall
When: Saturday October 31st
3pm - 6pm (rally and face paint begin at 3pm, march at 4pm)
For more information, contact the Committee for Immigrants Rights of Sonoma County at
(707) 571- 7559.