JPD Investigating Communications Failure | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

JPD Investigating Communications Failure


The Jackson Police Department is investigating Leslee Foukal's recovered car being held in the city impound lot for weeks without notifying the owner.

Jackson Police Department Assistant Chief Lee Vance said he is looking into suspected communication failures that held a crime victim's car in impound for more than a month.

"I just got a letter from her... and I've got my investigators as well as my people in the precinct reviewing not only the letter but the procedures that we have in place," Vance said.

Leslee Foukal, manager of Sneaky Beans on North State Street, says JPD's poor interdepartmental communication cost her more than $1,000.

"I think this is a case of people in the department not talking to other people in the department," Foukal said.

Unidentified thieves stole Foukal's 2000 Jeep Cherokee from a Jackson parking lot April 21, she told the Jackson Free Press. She reported the theft to JPD and received a case number the next day.

Eight days later, on April 29, police found and towed Foukal's Jeep to the city's impound lot. The department did not recognize the vehicle as Foukal's, however, even though she supplied the vehicle's VIN and tag number to a detective on April 25, four days before the Jeep arrived at the impound lot.

Unaware that her Jeep was tucked away in the city lot for weeks, Foukal rented a car May 5 and purchased a replacement vehicle May 11.

"That had been my sole mode of transportation," Foukal said. "I couldn't put off owning a vehicle any longer."

On May 12, Foukal says she called the impound lot and discovered that her vehicle had been sitting there for the past 13 days. Foukal retrieved her vehicle the next day, but the windows had been left down, allowing rain and other elements in. Seven days later, on May 20, a detective called Foukal to tell her that JPD had found her vehicle and stowed it at the impound lot.

Foukal claims that someone in the department had identified her stolen vehicle as early as May 10, however, one day before she pointlessly purchased another vehicle. Foukal said she received a letter May 26 informing her that her stolen car was on the lot. The letter is dated May 10, she said, even though its postmark is May 25.

"My real goal is to make sure that standard operating procedure is changed and that cops cross-reference vehicles when they tow them and that they're getting out calls when they're on the impound lot, and I'm not sure if that's happening," Foukal said.

Vance would not speculate on whether the departmental breakdown happened at vehicle check-in at the impound lot or after the employee did a vehicle check.

"It's too early to say what happened," Vance said. "I really am sorry that it appears that she had all of these things happen to her in the course of this investigation, but I'm glad she notified us of what has happened because that gives us an opportunity to review our procedures."

Vance added that if department procedures are not working or if they allow people to "fall through the cracks," then the department intends to fix the problem.

"If there's something we can do to make sure this doesn't happen to her or anybody else," Vance said, "that's what we're going to do."

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