By Alyssa Frierson for Wausau Pilot & Review

The Wausau Police Department will seek out a formal agreement for towing services with a local vendor to ensure the lowest cost and fastest response when vehicle removal is necessary.

Police officials say there are three types of tows: a non-consensual or no-preference tow, which happens when the vehicle’s owner can’t be located and doesn’t choose which tow company to use; an evidence tow; and a city-owned vehicle tow.

One proposal will be selected for each type of tow. One tow company may be awarded more than one contract, if they meet the requirements.

The company chosen will be considered the department’s primary contact, though the city will select a secondary company to fulfill obligations if the primary company is unable to accommodate a request.

This is the first time the city has sought a contract for towing. Historically, the department uses whichever company is available from a list. But the practice has led to frustration over uncertainty over costs.

Wausau Deputy Police Chief Matt Barnes told members of the Finance Committee on Wednesday that pursuing a contract will allow the department to set expectations and know exactly who to call when services are needed.

The request for proposals, years in the making, does not establish who will tow a vehicle in a typical car crash.

“This is to establish who will tow on behalf of the city when we make a decision to tow a vehicle, whether it is an abandoned vehicle, or it’s a tow for evidential purposes where we need to take custody of that vehicle,” Barnes said. “The RFP allows us to have exactly who we’re going to call. We want to know the cost of impounding because that cost is transferred to the citizens whose vehicles are being towed.”

Only companies in Wausau will be eligible to apply.