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City Council wants to 'boot' vehicles for parking violations

March 06, 2002|BY DAN KULIN /Staff Writer

Scofflaws beware.

The Hagerstown City Council on Tuesday supported a plan to start "booting" cars with three or more unpaid parking tickets.

The boots, devices put on a vehicle's wheel that immobilizes the vehicle, could begin appearing on vehicles in May, City Finance Director Al Martin said.

City Police Chief Arthur Smith said the boots would be put on vehicles with three or more parking tickets that are more than 30 days old.

There are now about 800 vehicles that would be in danger of being booted.

Finance Director Al Martin said there are 1,583 parking tickets more than three years old.

Currently, the city has vehicles with many old unpaid parking tickets towed, Smith said.

But, he said, "There are more out there than we can tow."

Also, towing is expensive and can tie up police officers for 30 minutes while they wait for the vehicle to be towed, he said.

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The boots will cost about $225 each and Smith said he'd like to buy five.

The council will have to vote on changes to the parking enforcement laws before the boots can be used.

Smith said he will look to other municipalities that use boots to see how the laws there are drafted, and to see how long booted cars are left sitting before being towed.

- Dan Kulin

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