Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Tale of woe

The names have been changed to protect the identity, but this is a tale of woe I received via email on Sunday:

"Hello, My name is John Doe. I emailed a few days ago about a parking ticket that was issued to me by a deputy. The ticket was issued by Officer J.Q. Public. It was issued at 4:50 p.m. on 02/12/12 at my resident parking lot of the apartment complex in which I live. There is a single handicapped stall in a line of roughly 25 stalls which never gets used by handicapped residence as there are none that I've seen in 9 months of living here. I never park in said spot as I know the law and I do not need to start a habit of breaking it. On the 12th I did park in said spot, however what I would like to know is this being the first and only time my vehicle has ever found it's way to that spot why do I receive a ticket. When on an every single day basis there are other cars that park there which have no handicapped tagging at all. I have noted 4 different cars that have parked there over full days and full nights since then. I don't feel it my place to have to call them in to prove a point. But I would like to know where Officer Public is located now. When people are actually planning a stay there and actually seeing that the law is posted and they take no regard to it. I have a completely clean driving record, and also have an exceptionally clean criminal record. So essentially what happened for Officer Public to enter the private parking lot and issue a ticket would be someone who normally parks in the spot completely illegally was perturbed that I parked there for a quick run inside to change out laundry. So instead of doing the sensible thing they call the police department in order to get the problem taken care of. I have absolutely no way to pay any type of ticket. I have just enough resource to pay my month to month bills and nothing left over from that. So my request of you is to either dismiss the ticket, or have an active deputy dispatched on a regular basis to the residence to ticket the other violators. In my eyes it's completely unreasonable for someone to report violations when they are doing so so they can perform the exact same violation. I'm not asking for a lot really and definitly am not a repeat offender. I would just like some kind of response as well please. And thank you for your time."

It appears from the dispatch record that Mr. Doe's assumption that someone called the police is correct. We dispatched a police officer who found his vehicle in violation and issued the ticket. This is one of the very few traffic violations for which you can receive a ticket on private property.


Herb said...

It would also be interesting to know the response time on the call, since John Doe claims to have only been away from the vehicle long enough "for a quick run inside to change laundry". I am not bagging on LPD response times, but also know that this would not be a hasty priority for most officers.

Anonymous said...

Question for you director. Several years ago there were volunteers that would put what looked like official tickets on vehicles that appeared to be violating Handicapped Parking? Is that program still in effect? Will those tickets stand up in court?

Gun Nut

Steve said...

Though Doe's complaint has to be taken with a grain of salt, he makes a point that I have often pondered. I had a similar experience downtown once. I parked in a metered spot and put in enough money to cover the time I planned to be there. My errand took a few minutes longer than expected, and upon my return I found the parking enforcement officer just starting to write out a ticket on my vehicle. It had only been a matter of a few minutes since the meter expired. She said once she started writing the ticket she had to go ahead with it. I had passed several cars parked illegally while walking back to my vehicle, all of which she had to have passed also. When I asked her why she hadn't ticketed any of the other cars, she said since they weren't in actual parking places, the only way she could ticket them was if someone made a complaint. So, being the good citizen I am, I made a complaint about other vehicles. She promptly ignored my complaint and went on her way.

I know we don't have enough officers to deal with every law violation that occurs, but it just seems wrong for an officer to see a violation of any kind and simply ignore it, especially if they are not already on another call.

Anonymous said...

I believe that the other chargeable-on-private-property vehicle offenses are DUI, willful reckless driving, and of course plates/tags/registration (if you're parked outdoors). Please add any that I missed.

Anonymous said...

The officer has no idea if the meter clicked over 1 minute ago, or one hour ago. The meter clicked over. You are in violation. I did successfully fight a ticket once because the time on the ticket was in the future. The officer had written the time of violation was something like 14:44 and it was actually 13:44. I took the ticket the minute I got it, which was like 13:45, to the city attorney's office and pointed out the discrepancy, and they nullified it agreeing I could not be ticketed because at the time, 14:44, my car was no longer in the space.

Steve said...


I wasn't complaining about my ticket, I deserved it. My problem was with the officer who said she needed a complaint before she could ticket the other vehicles. Some of them were parked near the end of the block in a non-space, some parked in curb cuts, and some actually across the sidewalk. I didn't feel it was right for them to "get away with it" when I didn't, so I complained, but she did nothing about them.

I had a similar problem once with a loud music complaint about my next door neighbor who was throwing a party with dozens (perhaps hundreds) of people and a live band that had speakers the size of my garage. The police came out, and when they found the renters in the back yard and couldn't talk over the music, they came out front to tell them there had been a complaint. Then, they started to leave. The music was still blaring so loud it was rattling the dishes in my cupboards. So, I ran out to see why they hadn't stopped it and was told the policy was that they needed three complaints before they could shut it down. So I said, "Okay, I'm complaining a second time right now." They acted as if that complaint didn't count and started to leave again. It was only when I told them I'd get my shotgun and blow the electric meter right off the side of the neighbors house before I'd let that music go on any longer that they took me serious and shut it down. Sometimes standard procedures just don't cut it.

Anonymous said...

What a whiner! It's very simple; you do the crime, you do the time (or pay the ticket).

Anonymous said...

And what is your response to this whiner? I find it hard to believe that the ONE and only time this person violated the law, he or she had the bad luck if being caught. Call me a skeptic but I don't buy it.

Tom Casady said...


I told him to either plead not guilty (although by his own admission...) or pay the fine, as there was nothing I could do for him.

Gun Nut,

Sort of phased out due to lack of a sufficient cadre of reliable volunteers who could spend the time, training, and effort needed.

10:24 AM,

You are correct, those are the offenses.


On issue number one, I agree, that was a poor response. On issue number two, it was not. Our general policy on disturbance complaints is to warn the source of the disturbance, go on our way, and if there is a subsequent verified complaint after a period of time has gone by during which a reasonable person would have had ample opportunity to abate the noise, issue a citation. Threatening to get a shotgun and blow the meter off the side of the house is not a good idea. Take a deep breath, go back inside, wait about a half hour, and if it's still cranked up, call in a second complaint and we will stand a much better chance of making it stick in court.

Steve said...


I realize, of course, that threatening gun violence was probalby not a wise move on my part. However, I was young and full of piss and vinegar, and it did actually work!

I guess my real concern at this point in time is that the policy might need some tweaking, or at least provide some leeway for officers to use their discretion on these complaints. In my situation, I had been working as a roofer from sunup to sundown in 100-plus degree weather. I was tired and hungry, and all I wanted to do was eat and go to bed, because I had to get up again to be back on the job at sunup the next morning. There was no way I was going to wait a half an hour and call in again just to have the police come out a second time and do the same thing again (they told me they needed three complaints). To me, it was no different than an assault in progress. There was no doubt it was a violation of the law, and allowing it to go on for any length of time seemed ridiculous and counter intuitive.

I'm thankful the officers allowed me some leeway regarding my threat, as I'm sure they could have probably arrested me for terroristic threats (or whatever it was called back then). Still, I think that policy is just plain wrong, but I guess it's one man's opinion.

Tom Casady said...


Here's the relevant excerpts from LPD General Order 1660, Party Complaints:

"It is the Department's intent to resolve disturbances through the cooperation of the host whenever possible, but to take enforcement action when flagrant violations of the law occur. The following procedure is provided as a guide to assist in the handling of party complaints. It is not intended to cover all contingencies or prohibit officers from using their discretion at the scene of a disturbance.

B. When responding to a disruptive party, officers should contact and obtain the name and personal information of the host or person in charge.

1. This person should be warned that further complaints, if verified, may result in dispersal
of the party and citations or arrests. Officers will advise the person he or she will be held responsible for any subsequent law

2. Although the department generally seeks to issue warnings and provide hosts with an opportunity to resolve party disturbances, immediate action consistent with this General Order may be taken without such warnings in the following circumstances:

a. The party is clearly out of control, and it reasonably appears that warnings would be fruitless;

b. There is a reasonably likely risk of harm to persons or property if action is delayed;

c. Law violations other than the disturbance are occurring."

Please give officers some slack in quoting chapter-and-verse from the General Orders manual during a tense call for service at midnight with a complainant who has been roofing in 100 degree heat all day and mentions getting a shotgun: there are a lot of policies and very few people can pull them up in the mental Rolodex under such circumstances. I know: I keystroked every one of them personally.

Steve said...


I meant no disrespect to the officers involved. I realize they were doing their job as they were trained to do it. My argument was with the policy that would allow such anti-social behavior to go on for so long. It appears that the policy does allow for them to take action immediately when it is warranted, which is good.

Tom Casady said...


Understood. I didn't take any offense at all.

Anonymous said...

Threatening to get a shotgun and take care of it yourself is just plain stupid. Anywhere but Lincoln Nebraska and the cops would have dealt with you and you probably would have missed work the next day or two because you'd be in jail.

Anonymous said...


Change "plain" to "incredibly". Now, let me state that I'm a person that owns quite a few guns, and few of those are the hunting variety. In fact, most of them are the sort that seem to give gun-grabbers the vapors, so I'm not anti-gun by any definition, nor am I a "concern troll". I don't care if someone has a rack full of paramilitary-style rifles with 100 rd drum mags; more power to them. If they can manage to get their BATFE Form 4 signed off on in Lincoln, NE, I'd stand and cheer them and their new selective-fire weapon, and ask how they got that signature.

That being said, it is incredibly, weapons-grade stupid to threaten to use a firearm to destroy a neighbor's property (or the utility company's property in this case) to end their loud party, no matter how tired and exasperated one might be.