More Fun With Parking Tickets: Valley
Police Department, January 1992
Personally, I was not a real hard case when it came to parking
pointed out in another story, (See; Parking
in the Park,) the two things that will piss off a citizen more
than anything else, is to impound their dog, or write them a parking
ticket. I’ve observed more stupid behavior from adults in
reaction to such enforcement activity, and more complaints lodged
against police officers for properly doing their duty while engaged
in this activity.
In most jurisdictions, a parking citation can be a fairly expensive
issue. In Omaha, a parking ticket might set you back anywhere from
$25 to $100 dollars depending on the specific offense. In Valley,
a parking ticket was a bargain. Only $5 Bucks! At that rate, you
might pay $25 and park improperly all month!
the early 1990’s, Valley enacted what was known as the Winter
Parking Ordinance. Between the dates of November 15 through April
15, no parking would be allowed on the streets at any time between
2:00 AM and 6:00 AM. With a few exceptions, this ordinance was pretty
much accepted by the local community, and unless there was a recent
snowfall over the holidays, the Mayor would typically order a moratorium
period over Thanksgiving and Christmas.
and Improper Parking had always been the Mayor’s Number
One Pet Peeve long before the City Council ever thought up
this Winter Parking Ordinance. It was therefore prudent, that as
soon as the bar rush was over at 2:00 AM, the duty officer would
go out and issue all of his parking tickets for the night. Early
in the winter season, this might net ten to fifteen tickets per
shift. After a few weeks, it was common to issue only one or two,
if any at all during the night.
Personally, I was not a real hard case when it came to parking violations,
and as a rule, I felt that parking tickets were a pain in the neck.
But let’s face it; it was part of the job! Because they were
a pain in the neck, if the public gave me any crap about parking
tickets I would typically dig my heals in and apply the rule of
law against the violator.
January 1992, I came across a vehicle registered to a party whom
I’ll refer to as Sheryl Garbo, parked on the street at 3:11
AM. It received a parking citation for violation of the Winter Parking
Ordinance. A few days later, the Police Department received a letter
from Ms. Garbow, along with her copy of the citation. It read:
Jan 27, 92.
your ticket before you give it out. I'm not from your town. I
am a tourist. So I'm not paying.
considering Ms. Garbow’s letter for a moment, I sat down at
the typewriter, and composed one of the better letters I’ve
ever produced during my law enforcement career:
Waterloo, Nebraska 68069
Parking Citation CC1763 space space
space January 31, 1992
you for your letter of January 27, 1992.
you had read the citation as you had indicated, you would have
learned that the City of Valley's Parking Ordinances have been
enacted to aid farmers, tourists, store patrons, business houses,
etc. by preventing traffic congestion. Nothing on the citation
vaguely suggests that persons, such as tourists, are exempt from
any event, your letter indicates that you are not paying the fines
quoted on the citation, which causes the Police Department to
understand your letter as your indication that you desire to exercise
your right to contest the citation. In matters such as this, the
citation must be contested before a Judge of the Douglas County
find enclosed, a Traffic Citation for the offense of the non moving
violation of Winter/Seasonal Parking Prohibition, Valley Municipal
Code, 5-811. Your Court Appearance Date has been set for 9:00
AM, February 21, 1992, at the Douglas County Court House, Seventeenth
and Farnam Streets, in Omaha, Nebraska. If you choose to waive
your Court Appearance, you may submit your fines to the Court
by following the instructions on the reverse side of the traffic
It is in your best interest not to ignore this citation. You must
appear in Court on the date and time quoted, or waive the citation
by submitting the fines to the court before the appearance date
quoted. Failure to comply with the terms of the citation may lead
to other legal action which may include, but are not limited to
the suspension of your driver's license, and/or a warrant to be
issued for your arrest.
you for your cooperation.
Randal R. Schulze
the approval of the Chief of Police, this letter, with the enclosed
citation was mailed to Ms Garbo via Certified Mail, Return Receipt
Requested which acts the same as being served personally with the
Nebraska Court Costs alone were set at $21.00 per citation. …And
while it was later learned that Ms. Garbo chose to waive the citation,
I understand the court levied a fine of $25.00, which by the contemporary
standards of the time, was the minimum court fine for a parking
violation. She could have paid the original $5 dollar fine, or better
yet, she should have chose not to have parked illegally in the first
place. Instead, she had to shell out $46.00!
word of this little transaction got out around town, (Thanks to
Ms Garbo's loud complaining in the local drinking establishments,)
we rarely had anyone violating the parking ordinances, and if parking
tickets were issued, they were certainly never contested!
Purple Sage Law Enforcement