Cops And Parkers

As sure as I post photos of some of the most ridiculous, self-centered, entitled parking scenes in Westport — like Monday’s jaw-dropping Trader Joe’s spectacle — readers respond with 2 comments:

  • Someone should have called the cops!
  • You’ve got their license plate right there! Send this photo to the police!

An alert “06880” reader — who asked for anonymity — decided to find out what the cops think of all this.

Deputy chief Vincent J. Penna quickly responded.

He explained that in this case, Trader Joe’s is a private lot. Though the police have some power to enforce motor vehicle laws there — like DUI, reckless operation and evading responsibility — parking enforcement is limited to fire lane and handicap space violations.

“Parking in a private lot is generally enforced by the property owner,” Penna says.

As for sending a photo: Sure, any citizen can provide a sworn statement detailing the infraction to the police. They’ll issue a ticket based on that statement.

However, if the driver pleads not guilty, then the officer — and the citizen — would both be subpoenaed to court.

Oh, yeah: The identity of the person making the complaint — and that person’s address — are public record.

“This tends to deter most people,” Penna notes.

Meanwhile, keep those photos comin’. We may not get any of these very entitled d-bags arrested.

But there’s nothing wrong with a little public shame.

Monday’s infamous Trader Joe’s photo. The license plate is clearly visible.

19 responses to “Cops And Parkers

  1. Unless there was some emergency, what would ever possess someone to do this? My jaw drops each time I see these posts and/or witness these instances myself around town.

  2. Hey, Dan: Just a clarification, did Deputy Chief Penna say that a citizen could provide a statement and photo of ANY parking violation (like the Trader Joe’s) and get a ticket issued, or just for the limited situations he mentioned the Police have jurisdiction over? I’m confused.


  3. Nancy Hunter

    Maybe the police would respond to the situation if offered a Pepsi?

  4. Dave Feliciano

    It must have been a terrible emergency, hopefully they had a change of underwear.

  5. Eric William Buchroeder SHS '70

    It seems to me that based on the Chief’s response and the fact that most of these issues seem to occur at Starbucks, maybe the insensitive parties are the retailer and their patrons who park poorly. Is Starbucks willing to alienate the majority of their loyal customers in defense of the few that abuse the parking privilege? Apparently yes.

  6. OK, so I’m gathering you can’t park in a fire lane or a handicap space (without a permit) – but it’s totally cool to block a handicap parking space, trap drivers in non-handicap spaces or block egress/ingress from a publicly accessable lot.

    Let’s hope our narcissist friend Chester doesn’t intend to colonize the TJ’s lot with his foul mouthed “it’s all about me” friends. What if they all show up en masse and turn off their Yukons in the middle of the driveway like their leader did the other day?

    I guess that day, if it comes, will require the Gettysburg of shaming.

  7. (Anonymous by request)

    Dan, LOVE your blog! FYI, I have a handicap parking pass And the new and only valid handicap passes have an expiration date on them, they no longer are for lifetime. I asked the WPD parking ticket officer When this would start being enforced And his response to me was quite curt, like he had better things to do, and basically said not his worry. As a disabled Westport citizen & taxpayer and the VERY limited # of handicapped spots, I was quite disturbed and taken back by his nonchalance. Anonymity please if possible. Thanks 4 all your stories Dan

    Sent from my iPhone


  8. Tom Broadbent

    Hi Dan, I thought you might get a kick out of the awful parking I saw last week at the Police Station, in light of your article today on private parking lots!



  9. Martha Deegan

    More creativity is called for, and, perhaps, a bit of “micro-aggression.”

    I suggest the following: 1.) pull your car right up against his opened door, saunter into Compo Flowers, buy a posy for your Sweetheart, and await his return from inside the back door of Compo Flowers. Be sure you have called the police first; 2.) always carry shaving cream, the gooey kind, and write “Karma will get you every time!” on his windshield; 3.) with WASHABLE magic marker, write “Bad Person” on the passenger side, or “Judge not, that ye be not judged.” Mt. 7:1-3.

    Do not write cuss words. Never raise your voice. Keep your car doors locked.

    I actually wouldn’t do any of these harmless things, but it is amusing to think about them.

  10. Mary Ann West

    And yet, there have been a few times in Stratford where the town parking enforcement has been found writing tickets to handicap placard violators in a private parking lot.
    Last time I walked by cheering and the officer looked up and smiled as he placed a $250 ticket on a windshield.

  11. Thank you anonymous for that info! Glad to know “the law”!

  12. Andrew Colabella

    I’ll say it for everyone to see…this driver is the biggest idiot. Like the drivers who do below the speed limit rubber necking to look into people’s homes and everything not in front of their vehicle.

    The same people who drive in the passing lane and keep the same pace of the vehicle next to them.

    The same people who go to make a left turn and do not pull into the intersection, to wait until their light turns red, holding up the cars behind creating traffic, and then holding up the vehicles looking to pass through the intersection as their light has just now turned green.

    To the people reading this, if you are offended…you’re a bad driver.

  13. Dan, thought you did not publish “anonymous” comments.

    • Dan, as noted above, the commenter requested anonymity for a valid reason. It’s my blog; I grant anonymity when requested.

  14. Luisa Francoeur

    But wasn’t this parking job an obstruction of a fire lane ? It is the main ingress and egress for TJ parking. Or does a fire lane have to be posted/painted as such?

  15. I don’t know if “parking” is necessarily a defined term, but I’d argue that the white SUV was not “parked”. Rather, it was abandoned in the middle of a publicly accessable travel way with its driver side door open. Just add yellow crime scene tape and you have: “…a spokesman for the Greenwich Police Department stated that the stolen white Yukon was later found abandoned at a Trader Joe’s in Westport. The 3 year old girl was retrieved unharmed from the rear of the SUV. Witnesses report that a potty mouthed man was seen exiting the vehicle.