Sheriff's Posse Lassoes Parking Violators
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
March 16, 2004
COLUMBIA, SOUTH CAROLINA--They may seem like mild-mannered community volunteers.
But the 27 members of the Handicapped Parking Patrol -- who call themselves "Leon's Parking Posse" -- have already nabbed 900 illegal parkers since Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott formed the group last November, according to a brief Associated Press story.
Posse volunteers, armed with digital cameras, roam store and mall parking lots, looking for vehicles illegally parked in spaces designated for people that have disabilities. When they find such varmints, patrollers leave fliers on vehicles and collect vehicle information for the sheriff's department. Sheriff's officials then contact vehicle owners, and decide whether to issue a ticket.
Most of the cases so far -- nearly 90 percent -- have involved people who had the correct parking placards, but did not displayed them where they would have been easily seen. Those were issued warnings.
Of the 96 people who were issued tickets, 91 have pleaded guilty.
The local traffic court last week reversed itself on one woman, who had pleaded guilty, when it learned that her husband had been the culprit. The judge told her she could not plead guilty for her husband, and told her to have her husband come to court the next time it hears cases from the patrol.