Enforcing Parking Laws With Innovation
November 10, 2020 by
Like many downtown areas, Castle Rock in Colorado has lots of foot traffic, but not much long-term parking. Castle Rock Police Department Commander Todd Brown said the department recently added hundreds of new homes and businesses to downtown, but only minimal parking.
Most of the town’s downtown parking has a two-hour limit, but many people who are visiting the area end up spending much longer than two hours at the city’s various restaurants and shops. Because of this, Brown said the department was seeing dozens of parking violations and knew they needed to enforce the law – just not traditionally.
“How do you literally target a problem that we know is not going to get any better,” Brown said. “Enforcement would not be the way. You would basically write yourself out of customers coming to the downtown area if they’re going to get tickets.”
With fear of deterring paying customers from downtown businesses, the Castle Rock Police Department implemented an electronic citation management solution, attempting to find a creative answer to the problem. These automated tools allow parking enforcement officers to walk the streets with mobile phones and tablets, allowing them to easily look up vehicle and license plate data, and record and store data.
With these capabilities, the department had a new view into its parking issues.
“We started giving out written warnings. When you come out to your car and you see what looks like a ticket on it, you’re going to get that sinking feeling. When you look closer and realize it’s only a written warning, it will send the message we want to get across without discouraging the patron from returning downtown in the future,” said Brown.
He adds, officers can give several warnings to try the educational approach before having to write a ticket. Because the citation solution streamlines the process and collects and stores data easily, Brown said that officers have no problem quickly writing written warnings. The warnings are safely stored in the system to be accessed or referenced in the future without hassle, if needed.
Brown said using this method to enforce downtown parking laws has improved the connection between their department and the public.
“Right now, we’re writing more written warnings than we are tickets,” Brown said. “It really shows that we’re trying to work with our community.”