Operations

How To Deal With The Parking Police

Jim Luff
Posted on July 7, 2016

We all have a job to do. Everyone believes their job is important, especially in serving our clients. Meter maids, mall security guards and even sworn police officers view their duty of parking enforcement equally vital. With the latter, an argument easily could result in a parking citation.

From Airports to Mall Parking Lots

It seems no matter where we choose to park, someone gets alarmed. Since most airport parking issues are handled by sworn officers of the airport police agency, your chauffeur or driver should avoid arguing with them, but rather ask as politely as possible where to park without being in the way or in violation.

If a chauffeur is polite and sincere in seeking guidance, the cooperation may be rewarded with directions. In the case of “mall cops,” they don’t have any teeth to bite you but cooperation should prevail here as well. Mall cops tend to be “wanna-be” police officers who are given a little tin badge and a uniform and can be quite aggressive in demanding a vehicle be moved. Again, encourage your drivers to be sincere and cooperative in asking where to park.

Stating Your Case

While a chauffeur might share the reason for parking in a no parking zone with an officer, it may not always fly. For instance, if you say you are waiting for the CEO of Nike to come out from visiting his Nike Store in the mall and he is expected out any minute, the attitude of a mall cop could range from, “I don’t care who you are driving,” to “No problem.” It really depends on the officer, whether a mall cop or a real cop. When stating your case, never argue, as it rarely helps your situation. Never refuse to move the vehicle, no matter how right you believe you are. Even a mall cop can summon the real police with a radio call for help, and a police officer may indeed cite you if you are parked on a red curb. Such citations can range up to $250-$500 based on my Internet search.

If You Get A Ticket

If your chauffeur or driver receives a parking ticket, you have two options. The easiest is to pay it and chalk it up as a life lesson. The second is to fight it in court and be ready to slog through the appeals process. By the way, the ticket goes to the owner of the vehicle, not the chauffeur, so this is your battle, although your driver committed the crime. The company needs to fight it, and even if you lose, federal law protects your employee.

In a court battle with LAPD over a parking violation outside Los Angeles Staple’s Center arena, a limousine company prevailed on a third appeal and the $93 parking ticket was dismissed. Twelve limousines were ticketed at one time as a concert ended. You must be prepared to battle and let a judge decide if the citation was warranted and justified, and consider all circumstances. An officer usually will not do this.

Advance Planning

One way to head off disputes with parking enforcement officers is to call ahead to venues where parking might be a problem. For example, calling the manager when the Nike CEO visits could result in VIP treatment from the security department wanting to play a role in the site visit. Likewise, calling Staple’s Center and asking where limousines should park can prevent conflicts.

Related Topics: airports, business management, chauffeur behavior, Jim Luff, law enforcement, smooth operations

Jim Luff Contributing Editor
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