Further to Charlie and the Difference between Police Officers and Parking Enforcement Officers


Further to Charlie and the Difference between Police Officers and Parking Enforcement Officers

Charlie holds that the most effective police officers are those that are feared, those that go by the book and strike terror in the hearts of citizens (ok he didn’t say that, but its sounds good.) It follows that the parking enforcement staff that follow the rules by the letter do the better job. If that is true, why do most people respect the police but the very same person despises the parking officer.

I think it is because police, by and in the large, enforce laws that we feel have a moral correctness about them. We don’t murder, steal, pick a commandment. However there is no moral obligation to park a certain way. The rules are seemingly arbitrary, as is the charging for on street parking. I understand why I shouldn’t park in front of a fire hydrant, or block a driveway. And my guess is most people don’t complain much about those tickets. However why should anyone care if I park here one hour, two hours or all day? Why should I pay $1 an hour to park on one street, and 25 cents an hour to park somewhere else?

We in the parking business know there are good reasons for charging, good reasons for time limits, and good reasons for red zones, loading zones, and the like. We have rules that you can’t park in an alley, but we don’t take into consideration how the merchant is supposed to unload his trucks. We paint a curb red, but neglect to deal with someone who is constructing a building next to the curb. We put up “no parking” signs to help the traffic flow, but neglect to deal with the used car lot nearby who needs to receive cars off trucks. Our rules may have wonderful reasons for existence, but they seem useless to non parking pros.

There is no intuitive relationship with most parking regulations and any moral code. People can be irate about sobs who take handicapped spaces, because they can see the need for the space and the moral teachings behind it. When a police officer enforces a traffic law in front of a playground, we don’t seem to mind so much. When they enforce 70 mph and we are going 75, the problem moves from a moral issue to a game.

Enough already….


John Van Horn

John Van Horn

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