Handicapped Parking Enforcement Program starts up for 2013 ***UPDATED***

The City of Asheville is looking for applicants to participate in this year’s Volunteer Handicapped Parking Enforcement Program. Each year, the City of Asheville Police Department trains volunteers how to write citations and warnings to drivers who park illegally in handicapped spaces. The program has been a great success for the city over the years in both educating and enforcing handicapped parking space laws.

Out of 955 handicapped parking citations written in 2012, 790 of those were written by volunteers who had gone through the class.

“These volunteers do a great job out in the community by being an extra set of eyes,” says Parking Enforcement Supervisor Adam March. “The results are truly noteworthy.”

The volunteers, many of whom utilize handicapped spaces themselves, are in a unique position to spot violations. Often, these are cases where handicapped placards are not displayed, placards are expired, or where drivers have parked in the striped zones around handicapped spaces. Many drivers aren’t aware that those striped zones are there to give people with wheelchairs or other mobility assistance room to exit or return to their cars says APD Officer Allen Dunlap, who runs the training class.

“That’s the whole point,” Dunlap says. “We want the volunteers out in the community to educate drivers. We always get a great group of people.”

Volunteers who go through the class are empowered to write handicapped parking citations only, and only within the City of Asheville limits and outside the Central Business District. Participants are given a background check and signed off on by the City Manager. Volunteers who have participated in previous years and who want to continue in the program must re-attend the class.

To apply for the Volunteer Handicapped Parking Enforcement Program, contact the City of Asheville Parking Services at (828) 259-5759 or stop by 45 Wall Street to pick up an application. The class will be held Sat. Feb. 2 and lunch will be provided. The deadline for applications is Friday, Jan. 25. ***UPDATE*** The sign-up period for this class has been extended and the the training session moved to a later date to be determined. So you still have time to apply if you want to take part!