McAlester News-Capital, McAlester, OK

November 2, 2013

Parking tickets, by the numbers

EPD employee responsible for enforcing city rules downtown, in city

By Dale Denwalt, Staff Writer
Enid News and Eagle

ENID, Okla. — In the past two years, the city of Enid has issued more than 1,500 parking tickets in the downtown area.

The data, obtained by the Enid News & Eagle through a public records request, shows that most violators in the past two years have only received one ticket.

At least 149 people in that same time period have been ticketed twice and some have a great many more than that.

According to the data, a vehicle registered to the top violator was ticketed 53 times — an average of once every two weeks, although several of those were two tickets issued in a single day at one of the city’s metered parking spots.

Attempts to reach the man listed on the vehicle’s registration were unsuccessful.

Over the past two years, that person has paid $343 and appears to still owe $60 on six violations since May, the data shows.

The next most-ticketed person has racked up 16 violations worth at least $200. She could not be reached for comment.

Those who violate either the two-hour parking limit or go over time on a metered spot pay $10, or $20 if paid late. In 2012, the fine was either $2 or $5.

Since Nov. 1, 2012, the city has raised $11,744 from tickets written in the downtown area. More than $2,600 remain unpaid.

More tickets have been written in the 100 blocks of Independence and Grand than in any other location. Each has more than 160 violators caught, although the data is incomplete and often does not list whether it is the southern or northern blocks.

The most popular parking meter to let expire? No. 21, but more than two dozen of those tickets were issued to the same person over the span of three months.

The person in charge of writing those tickets is Alfredo Pinero, an employee of the Enid Police Department. Officially, he’s called a parking compliance technician, but EPD Capt. Jack Morris, the department’s spokesman, says the job has similarities to being a cop.

“You’re not going to catch everybody,” Morris said.

Those who want to stay parked downtown for more than two hours have a simple, yet time consuming way to beat a ticket. They just move their cars.

Pinero walks the beat every weekday. He carries what’s basically a piece of chalk on a pole that he uses to mark tires on his first go-around. If the chalk’s still there two hours later, he writes the ticket.

“I leave a five minute window to be courteous, to help people get their chances,” Pinero said. “And if not, I’ll start enforcing.”

Pinero has been enforcing Enid’s parking laws, both downtown and around the city, since the summer. And no, there haven’t been any of the confrontations popularized in TV and film.

“Enid’s a pretty good town when it comes to the police department,” Morris said. “But let’s be for real, not everybody’s happy to get a ticket. So he’ll deal with some of that.”

In his job, Pinero gets to meet many of Enid’s downtown workers, and with his bright yellow-emblazoned uniform, it’s not hard to miss him.

“That’s a pro of my job is I’ve gotten to meet a lot of nice people in the downtown area,” he said.