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Councilwoman gets ride from police

January 21, 2006|By PEPPER BALLARD

pepperb@herald-mail.com

Hagerstown City Councilwoman Alesia D. Parson-McBean got a ride from police to the Motor Vehicle Administration office to get new stickers Friday after she was pulled over for displaying an expired registration on her vehicle, said Capt. Charles Summers, Hagerstown Police Department acting chief.

The councilwoman was not immediately given a traffic citation for displaying the registration, which had expired in November, Summers said.

Parson-McBean was pulled over in front of police department headquarters on North Burhans Boulevard about 11:30 a.m. by Officer Karen Hinchee because Parson-McBean "was displaying registration that was thought to be invalid," Summers said.

Summers said Lt. William C. Wright, the supervisor on duty at the time, after learning Parson-McBean was between city appointments, used his discretion to give her a ride to the Motor Vehicle Administration office, which is off Sharpsburg Pike, to renew her registration, a visit that lasted between 30 and 45 minutes. Other sergeants took over Wright's duties while he was out, Summers said.

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"There's plenty of staff around," he said.

The decision was made because Parson-McBean "is a member of city administration and needed to get back on the road to do business for the city. He thought that would be the most expeditious way to do that," Summers said.

Parson-McBean said she was "not at liberty to say" what business she was performing Friday for the city because of "privacy issues."

She said she did not realize her registration had expired.

City Administrator Bruce Zimmerman said he does not keep a schedule of appointments each member might have related to city business and did not know what Parson-McBean was doing Friday.

"I believe I was in the capacity of doing my job," Parson-McBean said. "In order to get back to doing my job, I needed assistance from my colleagues."

Parson-McBean said it is not unusual for her to receive rides from police department officers to some public events because of issues with her security.

"I'm one of those city officials who have had several threats ..." she said.

Summers said it also is not unusual for officers to use discretion in either issuing citations or in giving citizens rides to places they need to go. Zimmerman echoed that, saying it is up to officers to "use their discretion."

Summers said it would depend on the circumstances, but it is possible that a citizen could receive a ride to the Motor Vehicle Administration office.

Council members "do hold a different, more special relationship than the average citizen" with the police department, Summers said.

A citation for displaying an expired registration carries a $60 fine, he said. Summers said he told Hinchee that she could use her discretion about whether to cite the councilwoman.

Summers did not know whether Parson-McBean had been cited by 4 p.m.

People who get pulled over for an expired registration "several times will get towed, sometimes they're allowed to park somewhere else" until they get new registration stickers.

In this case, Parson-McBean pulled her vehicle around and parked it in the lot at headquarters until she returned with her new stickers, Summers said.

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