A couple weeks ago, I put up a letter about some strange behavior of an apparently abandoned police car which has been stationed near the crossroads of 200 South and Main in Salt Lake City (Full text available here). Well, a couple weeks ago, I noted that the patrol vehicle was parked in a red zone next to a hydrant. My previous letters to the SLCPD via their website have obviously been disregarded, so I took a picture of the offending police car and tweeted it to their official twitter account.
@slcpd cruiser 40552 parked in a fire hydrant zone. If I can’t park there, then you shouldn’t be allowed either. pic.twitter.com/CGIHJayAZJ— Topher Donovan (@maskedcrusader)
I finally got a reply from the police department, and they said they would take care of it. I haven’t heard anything about it yet, but the car has not disappeared.
Through this tweet, I apparently learned that the car is used by an off-duty officer who works private security in the building. That’s all fine and dandy, but I think off duty officers should not be able to use their vehicle to break the law.
I suspected that the off-duty officer was parking in these spots during their shift, so I started calculating the time that the patrol car sat in one of the metered spaces. Last week, I walked by and noted the position of the car in one of the metered spaces. I noted the vehicle number and the time of 8:00 am. I then passed by the building at lunch and noted the same patrol car in the metered spot at 12:30pm, over 4 hours later.
Now, mind you that these spots are 2 hour maximum parking. If I left my vehicle in the spot for 4 hours, I’d have at least one, but probably more, little envelope accompanied by a parking ticket. Yet, this off duty officer had no such infraction.
I have a concern with officers who believe that their badge elevates them above the law. I think that all vehicles in the possession of off-duty officers should be treated as a common vehicle and that the operator should be subject to the laws and restrictions of the road. E.g. The vehicle should be ticketed/towed if illegally parked (either over the allotted time limit or in red zones).
Just the other day (March 28th 2014 @ 4:30 PM) I saw a SLC Police officer drive through several red lights on westbound 500 South with full lights and sirens. After getting through the red light at 200 West, he turned off his lights, and casually turned right (north) on 300 West. (I had to stop at the red lights, so I didn’t get his vehicle number).
These are just minor examples of the abuse of powers that these local officers are guilty of.
I know there are many officers who are honest and trustworthy, but officers who use their status to bend the law should not be tolerated. This officer should have to purchase standard parking in one of the parking garages in the area during his work hours as if he weren’t an officer at another job. I have to either ride the bus, walk or pay for parking when I work downtown.
Bottom line, the law should be followed by all, private citizens as well as police officers.