City considers ordinance for repossession agents

Posted: Wednesday, January 6, 2016 11:41 am

By Fred Petke The Winchester Sun | 0 comments

For years, agents of collection and repossession agencies operated in Winchester with an unofficial agreement with police.

If agents were in town to repossess a vehicle, they would check in with the police department first, Winchester Police Chief Kevin Palmer said. The agreement had been in place so long, Palmer said he thought there was an ordinance on the books until recently.

Now, the Winchester Board of Commissioners is considering an amendment to the city’s ordinance requiring agents to check in with police when they are in town.

Palmer said there are problems during a repossession monthly, whether it’s a repo agent being on private property to physical altercations during a repossession.

The amended ordinance would require agents to stop at the police department before making the repossession and show the proper paperwork. Local established collection agencies have done that for years without complaint, Palmer said, but this would require everyone to do so. The ordinance would also give the city some legal teeth in case there was a problem, he said.

Palmer said the department regularly receives calls for a possible car theft only to find out it’s a repossession. Having the knowledge in advance would alter how officers respond to the situation, he said, and would help dispatchers should the car’s owner call to report the incident as a theft.

The commissioners voted to pursue the amendment with a first reading to come in a future meeting.