VPD cracks down on illegal handicap parking

Published 11:30 am Friday, May 30, 2014

Vicksburg police caught nearly 50 people improperly parked in handicap parking spaces last month as the department continues to aggressively focus on traffic enforcement.

VPD wrote 47 tickets for illegally parking in handicap spaces during April, community resource officer Angela Turner told Triad — an organization of senior adults and emergency responders —Wednesday.

“It shows how those handicap accessible parking spaces are being abused by those who shouldn’t be parked there,” Vicksburg Police Chief Walter Armstrong said.

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The fine for illegally parking in a handicap space is $213.50 in Vicksburg Municipal Court.

The number of tickets written in March was not available this morning because of a car crash into police headquarters, Deputy Chief Johnnie Edwards said.

Most of the tickets in April were written at Walmart or at Vicksburg’s four casinos, Edwards said.

“We’ve been focusing on that lately,” Edwards said.

The push accompanies training for a new crop of VPD officers, Armstrong said.

“We have a lot of new officers on the force and they tend to be aggressive in traffic enforcement,” Armstrong said.

Citations are issued to drivers who do not have a handicap-parking placard or to those who are improperly using the placard, Armstrong said.

“The placards are individual specific. It’s not for the vehicle, because the vehicle is not handicap,” Armstrong said. “If that occupant is not in that vehicle, then it should not be parked in a handicap space. We hope that the motoring public would not abuse the system.”

Parking isn’t the only area of traffic enforcement that VPD has ramped up this month.

On May 1, VPD began using a trailer equipped with radar to monitor speeding drivers around the city.

“We’re capturing a lot of good data,” Armstrong said.

The trailer captures speeds of vehicles, the number of vehicles that pass, and the time of day.

“It has been surprising that we have not noticed as many vehicles speeding as I thought,” Armstrong said. “We don’t know if the trailer itself is serving as deterrent. It clearly displays your speed.”

After the trailer has remained in place for a few days, VPD officers have been following with extra traffic enforcement during peek hours.

“We’ve noticed that the majority of speeders are around lunch time and quitting time,” he said. “We have followed up and issued tickets in those areas.”