Parking violators kept in check

Three tow-trucking companies, American Eagle, Quality and Mauldin’s, along with Florida A&M University’s Parking Services have to, on a daily basis, take action against individuals who park their vehicles outside of designated areas, on campus.

Jeff Barnus, a tow trucker from Mauldin’s Towing, said that he gets the call, the car is pointed out to him and he tows it.

“I try to be as polite to them as [I] can,” Baruns said. “I treat them as if it was my own car being towed.”

FAMU Parking Services is also trying to handle the amount time it takes to boot a vehicle.

James W. Lockley, Jr., assistant chief of police at the FAMU police department said the Police Service Technicians (PST) patrol looks for parking violators before they boot a car. He described the process of placing a boot on the vehicle.

The boot that is used, which is a nationally known way of dealing with parking violations, is a one size fits all deal. The boot is placed on the tire, clamped on and then bolt locked, making it extremely difficult to cut loose- nearly robbery proof. There are two pins in the front and in the back of the boot that can puncture the tire if the vehicle is moved. In order for this to not occur, a large orange warning label is taped on the front of the windshield of the car, informing the driver that a boot has been placed on their vehicle.

Lockley said there are some students who have collected parking tickets accumulating up to $3200. He said students should know the right places to park.

Although there are students who are aware of the places they are allowed to park, some still park illegally and risk being booted and towed. However, there are some students who believe this problem exists because of inadequate parking facilities.

“They want us to get booted,” said Jackie Clark, 22, a senior healthcare management student from Jacksonville. “If FSU can have five parking garages, then we should have at least one more somewhere.”

Lockley said the PST’s follow certain parking polices in place to determine whether or not a vehicle is to be booted. If the vehicle is booted, the cost to remove it is $55 plus a ticket fine, which must be paid within 5 days or a $10 charge is added on to the ticket.

“It’s not our mission to take your money [and] we try not to tow,” Lockley said. ” If the boot is not paid within 48 hours, the vehicle is towed; in which case, the vehicle is no longer in the university’s hands.”

Although the price may seem high to some students, there is not a daily quota that needs to be met by FAMU parking services and tow truck companies around campus.

“It varies from day to day; many elements are involved,” said Sgt. Mike Hollett of the FAMU Traffic Unit. “We try to educate the violator; our job is to find a problem, find a resolution and enforce.”

Lockley said a normal day starts off by being briefed on parking complaints, dealing with students, as well as employees.

“We have heavy and we have light days,” Lockley said. “We are starting to see more compliance in recent weeks than last year.”

With the stress that comes with the job that these tow-truck companies and parking services get daily from students on campus, some students understand the problems that Parking Services face.

Paul Parker, 19, a sophomore accounting student from Far-Rockaway, NY, said it is inconvenient for students when they get towed, but someone has to do the job.

“Students pay too much money to get boots removed, but I guess parking enforcement has to do their job,” Parker said.