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Action Line: Designated parking problem

ROYAL AIR FORCE LAKENHEATH, England --
COMPLAINT:

It has come to my attention this past week that there have been several cars that have been towed from various locations around the base. We had an email request telling us that we had to have cars removed from our parking lot or they would be towed. I was under the impression that the only designated parking spots were marked with placards and that the lemon lot you were required to have the appropriate paperwork.

Basically, I know that there were cars towed that had proper tax and plates displayed. I was under the assumption that even abandoned vehicles have to be given a 30 day notice before they can be towed away. So why then are vehicles being singled out and towed? There are numerous amounts of vehicles being left at the Strike Eagle while on deployment and they are not getting towed despite the fact that long term parking is only located at Mildenhall.

I have no problems with cars being towed away, and think heavier punishment should come to anyone who abandons a vehicle when there are companies around Lakenheath that will pick them up and pay you. But, it seems like certain cars are being flagged for their looks and proper procedure is not being followed.

RESPONSE:

Thank you for your question. You are correct in that the 48th Security Forces Squadron has removed over 20 vehicles from the installation and is actively identifying many more abandoned vehicles across the base.

In doing so, Security Forces must adhere to guidance in DOD 4160.21M, AFI 31-206, and LAKI 31-204, before removing a vehicle from the installation. Once they determine a vehicle has been abandoned, Security Forces will take all reasonable steps to contact the registered owner through e-mail, phone, certified mail, and the chain of command, to have the owner move the vehicle. Security Forces will work with those who are on leave or deployed, however it often becomes problematic with personnel that separate from the Air Force or PCS and leave their cars abandoned. If Security Forces cannot locate the owner, the vehicle will be towed away. This is the normal procedure. However, in some cases where the vehicle is an immediate safety or security hazard, Security Forces will have the vehicle towed if they cannot immediately reach the owner. If a specific incident has occurred in which correct procedure is in question, an owner can contact Security Forces Investigations at 226-2447.

In addition, I would like to correct you in that there is long term parking available at RAF Lakenheath in the parking lot across the street from the Strike Eagle Complex. It is located where the Heathrow shuttle bus does pick-ups/drop-offs each day. Personnel who choose to utilize this long term parking will need to ensure that it is done in accordance with LAKI 4.2.1, Motor Vehicle Traffic Regulations.

Thank you once again for your concern and bringing up this issue. Rest assured, no cars are being "flagged" for removal simply because of their looks. I hope this has helped clarify some of the procedures and offered a point of contact for any issues.

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