Charles County, MD — You might think of a police officer as someone who can’t wait to have your car towed away, but Cpl. Brad Saunders of the Charles County Sheriff’s Office has been given a special award for his fight against towing companies that unfairly targeted drivers.

Saunders received the Traffic Safety Award from the Maryland Sheriff’s Association at the MSA’s annual conference held last week. Cpl. Saunders was recognized for his work in establishing and monitoring the Agency’s new Tow Program which went into effect in 2018 after other Traffic Operations officers successfully pushed for legislation mandating all tow companies in Charles County be registered through the CCSO.

CCSO Traffic Operations Unit  officers became concerned about predatory towing practices and conducted a six-month investigation of a tow company employing predatory practices.

The members of the TOU took the initiative to champion new laws regulating towing practices in Charles County. Once the law was passed in 2018, Cpl. Saunders took the lead in creating procedures for registering tow companies with the new CCSO Tow Program.

The Tow Program currently consists of 44 towing companies and 133 approved trucks. 

 Cpl. Saunders verifies that all applications for the program have appropriate documents and conducts background checks on all operators who apply to be on the authorized drivers list. He also check out all complaints from officers and citizens about tow operators and tow companies.

Saunders is a certified commercial vehicle inspector, so he inspects all tow trucks before they’re allowed to hit the road as part of the program. All trucks that pass inspection are awarded a medallion which is installed by Cpl. Saunders on the truck in a visible location so other officers can easily identify the tow truck as a certified tow provider. The medallion was designed by Cpl. Saunders.

Cpl. Saunders also inspects all businesses where the vehicles will be stored. He ensures the area is in compliance with the law and is properly equipped with gate locks, lighting, proper fencing and has business signs in plain view.

“I am proud to have received this award and I consider my work in this area a labor of love. I am dedicated to highway safety in all areas and this program is just one aspect. I work with a great team and many people played a role in helping us get to this point,” said Cpl. Saunders.