Knox Police Chief Discusses Amending Lock-Out Policy with Board of Public Works and Safety

As of Wednesday, the Knox City Police Department had responded to more than 140 vehicle lock-out calls in 2018, according to Police Chief Harold Smith. Chief Smith told Board of Public Works members that the department is currently considering amending their policy on retrieving keys from locked cars.

He explained, “Most departments, like the Valpo Police Department, Plymouth Police Department, they don’t even do lock-outs unless there’s an emergency where there’s a child or somebody locked in the vehicle, then that’s understandable,” he continued, “but for the liability purpose, they don’t even mess with it anymore. I talked to the Culver Chief and they do it but they charge a fee of $25.”

Chief Smith noted that Culver Police Chief Wayne Bean informed him that they put the funds collected from the lock-out calls back into their training fund or equipment fund.

Smith recommended rather than eliminating the service altogether they could charge a $20 fee unless it’s an emergency. He said he felt this price would be easier to collect in the field since officers wouldn’t have to worry about making change. He added that officers could issue receipts to the person requesting the service.

Mayor Dennis Estok said that before making an official decision, he felt that they should consult with their insurance company to see how offering the service affects the city’s liability insurance.

Clerk-Treasurer Jeff Houston noted that he wants to coordinate with the State Board of Accounts, as well as Culver Clerk-Treasurer Karen Heim about whether an enabling ordinance would need to be created to account for the new source of revenue.

Due to the additional details that need to be gathered, board members did not take any action on the request on Wednesday. However, the matter will be readdressed at the August Board of Works meeting.