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CORI route; Know your tow.

COLUMN: IN OUR OPINION

The city needs tighter clamps on its tow companies.

Criminal Offender Record Information checks are routinely carried out before a mother can volunteer at a school or a citizen can serve on a library committee. But Worcester officials have so far felt CORI checks aren't needed for tow truck drivers.

This hole in city policy has been exposed by recent troubles at longtime contractor Pat's Service Center & Towing. Several ex-employees of the Shrewsbury Street garage face assault, kidnapping and other charges in connection with on-the-job incidents.

Requiring the services of a tow operator almost always involves stress and vulnerability. A woman whose car breaks down at night, for instance, might get a lift with the tow truck driver while her car is being taken to a dark and unfamiliar location. It is unfathomable for municipal officials to simply assume that tow truck drivers are trustworthy.

Worcester contracts with a handful of companies for police towing, Pat's territory being the largest. The city needs to take the CORI route with all of them: Pat's Service Center, Boulevard Garage, Early's on Park Avenue and Direnzo Towing & Recovery.

Further, the city needs to consider whether to unhitch from its five-year, $170,000 contract with Pat's, at least while the assault cases are still pending. The Massachusetts State Police and AAA Southern New England severed their ties in the wake of the indictments. Any legal and logistic entanglements are worth the trouble in the interest of safety. In this age of CORI checks for hospital orderlies and dance chaperones, it's sensible to include the guys from the garage.
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Title Annotation:EDITORIAL
Publication:Telegram & Gazette (Worcester, MA)
Article Type:Editorial
Date:Mar 6, 2012
Words:268
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