New city ordinance allows volunteers and city employees to issue parking tickets
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Beginning Tuesday, volunteers and some city employees will be authorized to issue parking tickets in the city of Santa Barbara. The ordinance amends section 10.08.120 of the Santa Barbara Municipal Code, and will allow the Chief of Police to designate non-officers who can then discharge “citations or notices of violation.”
The Santa Barbara City Council chose to address the issue because “the enforcement of Santa Barbara Municipal Code and California Vehicle Code violations related to illegal parking is an important public service,” however, police officers that have been charged with the responsibility of administering tickets have other duties that demand their time and attention as well.
Keyt News reports that the ordinance is expected to “help free up parking spaces downtown and move along the ebb and flow of cars, which can in turn help business in the area.” Keyt reports that the Santa Barbara Police Department plans to require volunteers and city employees to take a class before they are authorized to write citations. According to Keyt, the Department says the Chief of Police will likely designate members of the “Volunteering in Policing Group” and “Community Development or Parking” employees to issue tickets.
Westmont senior Zarina Huber approves of the directive, saying it’s frequently difficult to find parking on State Street. For Huber, while she’d be unhappy to receive a parking ticket, it doesn’t matter who’s handing them out as long as they’re trained and capable.
Huber wonders whether a citation by a non-officer will have more leeway in court if it were to be petitioned, although it’s expected that a parking ticket will hold the same weight in front of a judge regardless of who issues it. Nevertheless, Huber is pleased that rather than spending time tediously checking meters, police officers can do more important and demanding jobs like “crime-fighting,” and citizens will still be held accountable to the law regarding parking offences.
Sophomore Riley King hopes the decree will make traffic more organized downtown and keep the streets clear, and believes it will be beneficial to the community. Huber and King both seem to agree that the ordinance won’t impact Westmont students very much, because most students park in the various lots and garages downtown. According to Keyt News, the ordinance will more likely affect people that try to leave their cars for hours at a time in spaces that are supposed to be occupied for 90 minutes or less.
The Santa Barbara City Council met Tuesday, February 26th, and consented upon the ordinance, among other concerns. The next meeting will be held on Tuesday, March 5th.