Charlottesville Parking Advisory Panel discusses civilian enforcement of parking
Charlottesville in November 2020 was in a different place, with interim City Manager John Blair at the helm. At that time, the city’s Parking Advisory Panel endorsed a proposal to ask the City Council to transition enforcement of on-street parking limits from the police department to a civilian contractor. (Parking panel supports non-police enforcement, November 18, 2020)
Since then, Blair left the city. Chip Boyles was hired and resigned within nine months, shortly after he terminated former Police Chief RaShall Brackney.
Charlottesville’s Parking Director Rick Siebert told the panel earlier this month that neither the policy or parking enforcement appears to be a priority at this time.
“I’m aware the police have a lot of challenges right now but parking seems to have fallen pretty far down the list,” Siebert said.
Now the interim City Manager is Michael C. Jones, and his primary focus is getting together Charlottesville’s budget for next fiscal year.
“He has not been briefed on this issue at all,” said Chris Engel, the city’s economic development director.
The panel discussed whether they should bring the matter up during the city’s budget development process. Siebert said there would be be no additional revenue, but panel chair Joan Fenton said switching to a civilian firm could free up resources in a department that is understaffed.
“And it would free up the [Community Service Officer] or somebody else to do other duties which they are short-handed for so perhaps it does make sense to present it as part of the budgeting,” Fenton said.
Engel said it was more of a policy issue than a budget one and suggested this was not the right time to approach Jones or Council.
“It might be the type of thing that a citizen could submit as an idea though rather than coming officially from one of you all,” said panel member Kirby Hutto.
The panel then suggested resending its previous letter. Siebert urged them to be realistic until after the city’s FY23 budget is adopted later this spring.
“We only have an acting chief of police and this kind of policy issue is just not on anyone’s radar right now compared to trying to hash out what the city is going to do about its budget,” Siebert said.
Siebert suggested trying again in May. The panel agreed to wait.
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Coming from a Washington DC resident, civilians issuing parking citations, booting/towing vehicles, and investigating abandoned/stolen vehicles is a terrible idea. Law enforcement is the right choice, because of the threat of assaults, and being visible in the community. I’m sure if Law enforcement does this in Washington, DC, then crime would be down in the city, and assaults on Parking Enforcement Officers, Tow Truck drivers, Boot immobilizers, and Abandoned/Stolen vehicle investigators, would no longer exist.