More MS news articles for Aug 2001

Police can't ticket cars in handicapped spots

August 02, 2001
By RICHARD F. BELISLE / Staff Writer, Waynesboro

WAYNESBORO, Pa. -Motorists in the Borough of Waynesboro, even those without special license tags, can park with impunity in most of the 50-plus handicapped parking spaces because of an old Borough Council policy that bans police from ticketing the violators.

The issue came up at Wednesday's Borough Council meeting when Councilman Allen Porter, chairman of the council's street committee, questioned why the signs can't be enforced.

Borough Police Chief Ray Shultz said his officers' hands are tied whenever they see a violation.

The problem, Shultz said, is that the signs marking handicapped spaces lack the legal wording that allows police to issue citations. The signs do say that the spaces are for handicapped drivers. What they lack is wording about the penalty, that violators are subject to fines and towing. As a result, they lack the weight of law, Shultz said.

"Police and the district justice can't enforce the law," Allen told the council.

Borough Manager Lloyd R. Hamberger said the council made a "conscious decision years ago" not to install signs with the proper wording. "It was a policy decision," he said.

Porter said the chairman of the street committee at that time believed that citizens should not be fined for parking in handicapped spaces, that police should only issue warnings.

"I don't know that the same sentiment doesn't hold today," Porter said after the meeting. "It's something that we will have to discuss."