DU Police Chief Andre Menzies defended “booting,” or immobilizing, vehicles in recent weeks because he said his office is tired of merely warning students and faculty about improper parking.
The Department of Public Safety issued a memo by university email Jan. 14 that effective Monday, Jan. 18, the police department would “strictly enforce all university parking and traffic regulations.” The memo said Thursday, Jan. 21, was the final day that vehicles would be allowed to enter the campus without a valid parking decal.
However, the previous week, a registered vehicle of a DU administrator was booted in the Cook parking lot for being parked in a handicapped spot, and at least one student’s vehicle was booted for being parked in the walkway between parking spaces.
(The police chief and administrator disagreed about whether that vehicle had a handicapped decal displayed. The administrator said the hangtag was there, and he was told the car was parked too far over in the parking space because of an adjacent illegally parked car.)
On Thursday, Jan. 21, police booted a car with a registration decal parked on the grass next to parking spaces. However, at least 15 cars were parked between Cook and the new Professional Building; of that number, four had no visible registration decal and another six that had registration decals were parked on the grass. None was booted. And although a sign designates “two-way traffic” for the driveway into the Cook parking lot, vehicles are still allowed to park in one lane.
Menzies said last spring that his office would work with people who had decals during the parking crunch caused by construction as long as the cars were not hazardous obstructions – for example, being parked on or blocking the roadway that goes to the adjacent mausoleum.
Menzies said Monday that his department only issued warning slips last semester, but now it is enforcing the rules. In light of the mass email on Jan. 14, Menzies said he has provided enough time to adhere to parking regulations. The chief did not directly answer the question posed: “What happened to ticketing first” as the intermediate step between warning and booting?
Regarding the at least 10 cars in violation between Cook and the Professional Building on Jan. 21, Menzies’ position was, “You can’t catch them all.” He said his department is only allowing vehicles with decals or visitor’s passes on campus and did not address how the vehicles with no decals came to be parked. He told the reporter who observed the cars with no decals that she must have overlooked their visitor’s passes.
“We try to do the best we can,” he said, “to make it fair for people who have decals” to find parking.
Menzies reiterated one of the major parking issues is that people want to park close to particular buildings, but he said that is impossible. He noted ample parking is available by the tennis courts and suggested more people park there and take the shuttle.
Menzies wanted to clarify that the money from tickets and boot removal does not go to his department budget but to the university in general. And he reminded ticket recipients that an appeal process is in place if you feel you were unfairly ticketed.
Parking rules and regulations guides are available in the Public Safety office.