City responds to car owners with remote starters

Citizens spoke, sputtered and fumed on social media, police listened and change is coming.

A city law against people leaving their cars running to get warm in winter or cool in summer is being amended.

The public safety committee yesterday approved a change that allows the use of remote starters. It goes to the full council for approval today.

The remote starters on modern vehicles allow them to run but prevent thieves from hopping in and driving away.

Sarah Boyd, police social media operator, suggested change after helpful citizen input. She said she used to put out frequent warnings not to leave vehicles running, but ….

Questions flooded in about remote starters, she said, along with complaints about tickets for using them.

“I stopped putting things out there because I didn’t know how to respond to people asking about remote starters,” she told the committee.

“By far this is the most inquired about topic in my years of running social media.”

Police Sgt. Rod Gentry spoke in support of the change.

“If we’re going to be serious about this ordinance we need to update it,” he said.

The problem with leaving cars running and unprotected is real, he said, and is to blame for about one in three vehicles stolen during cold or hot weather.

He said he did not know how many tickets went to people with remote starters but said police probably refrained from it much of the time, after explanation.

“Usually when an officer begins writing a ticket, owners become very prevalent and tell us about the remote starters,” Gentry said.

In view of the cold weather, Councilman John Sharp said of the law change, “the sooner we can get this effective, the better.”


  1. mouse says:

    And I thought criminals were people who stole cars, not people who start cars. They should ditch the whole insane law. There are better ways to deal with this.

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