Cracking down on people parked in handicap spaces: $500 fine

AMARILLO, TX - In response to a lot of parking violations, the Amarillo Police Department is dispatching out a new fleet of officers.

APD currently has close to a dozen senior citizen volunteers patrolling the streets of Amarillo.

Roe Ann Hill, one of the volunteers, says at least two volunteers are normally out on patrol on any given day.

This job isn't as easy as it seems! Every member of the force has to go through a special training session and be sworn in by the police department.

They also have similar powers---one being ticket writing.

We're told they have the capability to issue citations for people blocking handicapped spots or those parked in handicap spaces without a proper placard.

While the average speeding ticket can run $150, a ticket for parking in a handicap space will run you just over $500.

These citations must be either paid in full or fought in court just like any other moving traffic ticket.

Don't think that just because you were issued a citation by a senior citizen volunteer that your ticket will be easily dismissed.

With every ticket given, the volunteer task force takes pictures of the vehicle in violation so your chances of getting out of it are slim to none.

"We take pictures which show where the person was parked and their licence plate," Hill said.

Volunteers patrol all city streets and businesses looking for suspicious vehicles and violations.

They say the most tickets happen to be written in Wal-Mart parking lots and grocery stores.

The have also written tickets at food establishments, Westgate Mall and other department stores across the city.

In our short ride-along today, 5 citations were issued for people illegally parked in handicap spaces by noon.

Though strictly a volunteer program, the seniors are provided uniforms, a marked patrol vehicle and radio.