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Auxiliary police and authorized Hagerstown employees to serve as parking enforcement officers

June 30, 2013|By HOLLY SHOK | holly.shok@herald-mail.com

Beginning in mid-July, auxiliary police and authorized City of Hagerstown employees will officially serve in the role of parking enforcement officers.

Currently the city’s police chief can designate “enforcement officers,” and has done so with auxiliary police and other city workers in the past. Several wording alterations to the Hagerstown city code will make such designations part of the code, city’s Parking System Supervisor Jason Rodgers said.
Rodgers said the wording updates merely clean up city code.

“It’s just to make the administrative part match the operational part,” he said Wednesday. 

The Hagerstown City Council at its June 18 meeting voted 4-0, in three instances, to approve three ordinances amending city code. Councilman Lewis C. Metzner was absent from the meeting at City Hall.

All three ordinances amending city code will take effect July 17.

The first amendment will allow auxiliary police and authorized individuals to enforce parking provisions.

According to city documents, those individuals will act as enforcement officers with the authority to issue municipal infractions to trucks, commercial vehicles and camping vehicles. 

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City Director of Public Works Eric Deike said that in addition to auxiliary police, authorized individuals are city staff hired as parking enforcement officers.

Rodgers said currently there are two city employees who serve as parking enforcement officers.

The second amendment will allow those same authorized individuals to impound illegally parked vehicles and “to tow away or have towed away by a competent person all vehicles violating parking prohibitions,” according to city documents.

The third amendment will allow authorized individuals in the city’s Department of Public Works to “boot or impound” vehicles illegally parked and for unsatisfied summonses and citations.

Vehicles are subject to booting after they accumulate three or more unpaid parking tickets that are more than 30 days overdue, according to Rodgers.

The amendment also will allow authorized individuals within the Department of Public Works to act as hearing officers, Deike said.

As the code currently is written, city staff within the Department of Public Works are authorized to immobilize and impound vehicles, but the notice of the booting and hearings are to be conducted by the Hagerstown Police Department.

Previously, Hagerstown Police Department shift supervisors, sergeants or titles above had been conducting informal hearings, according to city code. The police chief had also designated certain individuals within the Department of Public Works, but now authorized individuals within the department will already be placed in the code, according to Rodgers.

If the outcome of an informal hearing, which is used to determine whether a person was booted or impounded fairly, goes against a vehicle’s owner, they have the right to take the case to district court, Rodgers said.

According to city documents, the amendments reflect “interest of efficient use of police officers’ time.”

The city has hundreds of on-street metered spaces throughout downtown, more than 700 spaces in public lots, more than 600 spaces in parking garages and smaller neighborhood lots throughout the city.

Auxiliary police and authorized city staff will focus on parking enforcement primarily in the downtown area, but will have the authority throughout the city, Rodgers said.

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