Local police respond to federal 'chalking' ruling

By Stephen Betts | Apr 24, 2019
Photo by: Stephen Betts Rockland Police Department parking enforcement Officer Troy Peasley marks a car on Limerock Street.

Local police departments will make no immediate changes following a federal appeals court ruling that it is unconstitutional for police to chalk tires to enforce parking limits.

Chief Randy Gagne of the Camden and Rockport police departments said Wednesday, April 24, that the ruling does not apply to Maine.

"We will continue our current method for the time being, but we have started looking for alternative options," Gagne said.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit ruled April 22 that marking a motor vehicle’s tires to gather information is a form of trespass requiring a court-issued warrant. The 6th Circuit -- based in Cincinnati -- covers the states of Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio and Tennessee.

The First Circuit Court of Appeals, which covers Maine, has not ruled on the matter, nor had the U.S. Supreme Court.

Rockland Police Chief Christopher Young said he plans no change in how the city enforces its parking laws. He said he will meet with the city's parking enforcement officer to see if there are alternatives if needed.

Rockland Parking Enforcement Officer Troy Peasley said he hopes common sense will prevail, saying it is not a search or seizure to mark a tire on public property.

Rockland has about 500 parking spaces downtown that have time limits. Tickets are issued when the time limit is exceeded.

Rockland earned nearly $16,000 last year from parking tickets. The proposed 2019-2020 budget projects $15,000 in ticket revenues. A ticket in Rockland for overtime parking is $10.

Rockland used parking meters until the early 1960s, when it turned to having a ticket officer mark tires.

Peasley said the hand-held device he uses to print tickets is also able to take photographs, so he could use it to identify vehicles in the event marking tires is no longer allowed.

Comments (1)
Posted by: TC Tolliver | Apr 24, 2019 18:38

Just wondering how much it cost to collect that $16,000.

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