Parking Enforcers Return To Job After Protest
by Paul Bass | Mar 20, 2014 4:46 pm
Posted to: City Hall, Transportation
Meter men and women returned to the streets Thursday—after a three-day job boycott in the face of alleged retaliatory threats from cops angered over getting parking tickets.
The threats may or may not have occurred. But they spooked the city’s fleet of parking enforcers enough that they refused to issue any tickets this week.
Their boss, city Director of Transportation, Traffic & Parking (TT&P) Doug Hausladen, said his department found other work for the employees to do for three days while officials ironed out the dispute.
“They were at work,” Hausladen said Thursday. “We found internal tasks for them to work on, including continuing education.”
The parking enforcers agreed to hit the streets again Thursday after Hausladen distributed a memo clarifying where the city stands—or at this point doesn’t necessarily stand—vis-a-vis ticketing illegally parked police cars.
The episode began because of two related matters Hausladen, who began his job last month, sought to address involving the police department and parking.
One involves the lack of street spaces for cop cruisers in and around police headquarters at 1 Union Ave. The police department has for years been working on finding more spaces. Right now cops and other department employees park all day at some of the metered public spaces in front of the building—and they haven’t received tickets. So do some Board of Education employees. Sometimes cars are parking two or three abreast, blocking traffic. Cops, meanwhile, sometimes find their designated spots on nearby streets taken by Metro-North commuters. Hausladen recently visited Assistant Police Chief Denise Blanchard to discuss where other spaces might be found, or, he said, whether he should just have some of the meters removed from Union Avenue so cops can legally park all day.
Hausladen said he wants to find ways “to squeeze in more spaces for police officers.”
The second matter involves tickets of illegally parked police cars. This question has cropped up at times over the years, sparking tensions between cops (and their union) and traffic officials. When police officers get tickets, they can submit them to a high-ranking cops—these days Lt. Julie Johnson—who then can bring them over to TT&P to be forgiven. One source of tension has concerned the private cars of officers working extra-duty jobs like directing traffic around utility jobs. Back in 2010, for instance, the then-president of the police union clashed with Hausladen’s predecessor over tickets given in those cases. Here’s what the then-president wrote in a memo to officers: “While the Union has made repeated attempts to resolve this issue in a respectful manner it has been rebuffed ... The Union has learned that the traffic assistants have been ordered to ticket police officers’ vehicles or they would be written up for disciplinary action. This is the final straw. ... [If]f any traffic assistant attempts to ticket an officer’s personal car while on extra duty that individual is in violation of the Motor Vehicle Statute and could also be committing the crime of Interfering with a Police Officer. ... It is the opinion of the Executive Board that very little discretion should be exercised by Police Officers, especially in the downtown areas (delivery trucks, armored cars etc.) as it related to parking violations and motor vehicle violations.”
Rumors & “Threats”
After Hausladen met with police officials recently to discuss both matters, word spread through the department that he had ordered his enforcers to ticket police department employees’ vehicles outside 1 Union Ave. and to ticket the illegally parked cars of officers working extra-duty jobs. (Hausladen denied ever issuing such orders.)
Ron Hobson (pictured) started hearing from scared parking enforcers. He represents them as president of president of AFSCME Council 4 Local 884.
“They were scared by the threats,” Hobson said. Cops had allegedly told the meter men and women “they were going to ‘make their life miserable.’”
The parking enforcers also brought their fears to their boss, Hausladen, and refused to go back out in the street until the matter could be resolved.
Hobson, meanwhile, brought the complaint to Assistant Police Chief Luiz Casanova. Casanova said he told Hobson to get him specific names of officers making alleged threats.
“We will not tolerate that behavior,” Casanova said Thursday.
He also said he doubts actual threats were made. Hobson said that when he returned to the parking enforcers, they declined to offer any specific names of officers making threats. (City officials have barred parking enforcers from speaking to the press.)
Police Union Local 530 President Louis Cavaliere Jr. denied any of his members threatened any meter men or women.
“Nobody’s ever threatened. That’s illegal! We’re professionals. We don’t work that way,” Cavaliere said Thursday. “We have a problem. We’re trying to come up with a solution.
“Doug is new. He wants to come in strong and do his job and feel he’s wanted and he’s important. Him reaching out to us and us having an open dialogue has helped drastically. He’s been calling me, and I’ve been calling him. We’re meeting tomorrow. I think this is all going to be settled in a couple of days.”
Cavaliere and Hausladen have a meeting scheduled for Friday morning to discuss parking solutions. One idea on the table: Removing some of the meters in front of 1 Union Ave. so cops can park there all day. Hobson called the idea a “waste of taxpayer money” since the city installed those meters only a few years ago.
Also under discussion: the idea of creating more parking spaces on unused land two blocks behind the police station near the Church Street South housing projects. Cavaliere has some hesitation about officers parking their personal cars there: The department has already created new spaces near there, and vandals have slashed tires and otherwise damaged officers’ cars. Cops recently arrested a man responsible for some of the vandalism. “A lot of guys don’t want to park in the back because their cars are getting damaged,” Cavaliere said. “People see an officer get out of a personal car, that’s a target. That’s a personal mark.”
In the meantime, Hausladen (pictured) wrote two memos Thursday that ended the standoff with his workers for now.
The first was addressed to Police Chief Esserman and distributed to TT&P staffers.
“I wanted to take a moment and clarify any misconceptions and rumors that may be floating around,” the memo began. “There has been no change to policies with respect to parking around 1 Union Avenue and no directives to parking enforcement officers to anything differently than has been happening over the past few years.” He called the meeting with Chief Blanchard last Friday “the first of many” to come up with long-term parking solutions. They discussed a 2012 consultant’s report on addressing parking problems around the station, he wrote.
He then wrote that until meeting with Casanova last week, he had “never heard” before of a practice of waiving parking tickets for community policing purposes. ... I would like to learn more about it. After further discussions with both Chief Blanchard and the Mayor’s office, there will be no change to this policy and practice, nor was there ever any plan to do so. I apologize if my way of understanding our systems through asking questions has caused any concern.”
He then addressed extra-duty work. He wrote that his department considers extra-duty jobs “within the performance” of cops’ duties. He then said he’d “like to work together with the Police Department to further improve this system.”
To date, Hausladen said Thursday, he has approved all of Lt. Johnson’s requests to waive officers’ tickets. He said he does not recall being asked to waive any tickets involving cops parking in handicapped spots while on extra duty.
In a separate memo Thursday to all city department heads, Hausladen addressed the question of when city employees might receive tickets while on city time.
“City employees and inspectors on official city business (including extra-duty work for police officers) are able to park at any legal meter without the requirement of payment or to park in a space longer than the meter time limit,” he wrote.
But, he clarified, that doesn’t mean employees may park in illegal spots. “[Y]ou cannot block fire hydrants or crosswalks, park in bus stops, park in no parking zones, park on sidewalks or driveway aprons, park in pick-up/delivery only zones parking in disabled parking slots (unless the employee is authorized to do so by displaying a disabled placard issued by the state)” or park in temporary no-parking spots reserved for street sweeping or special events.
Union President Cavaliere said he always tells his officers to avoid parking in handicapped spots or in front of hydrants or crosswalks .
Post a Comment
I think that it’s ridiculous to ticket NHPD cruisers; there is no place to park over there, and anyone that’s not a cop who wants to visit the station has a good long walk ahead of them. As for the Church Street Housing Project, turning it into a parking garage for NHPD would put a halt to the ridiculous level of violence that flows out of that place.
The illegally parked vehicles are a major safety hazard, because they limit visibility at crosswalks and intersections.
Illegally parked vehicles also often block crosswalks, making it impossible for people in wheelchairs to get around our city safely.
Someone is going to be killed if this matter isn’t resolved. It has been brought up repeatedly with the City Administration and nobody has done anything to truly resolve it.
Please ticket the illegally parked vehicles, before somebody is killed.
It really won’t matter whose vehicle it is when a vehicle is blocking visibility and a car flies around that blind corner at 1 Union into a double baby stroller.
This is also a common problem on Orange Street, near Nica’s, on Fountain Street, in front of the Post Office, and at a number of intersections along Chapel Street.
Are they still giving aldermen a Waiver for Parking Tickets?
Damn it! I wished I’d known about this… I would have PARKED MY CAR ALL OVER THE PLACE WITHOUT FEAR OF TICKETS! Ha ha ha! Foiled again!
Interesting article. A couple questions: 1) Could Doug Hausladen add a clarification that police officers also may not park in bicycle lanes? 2) Why should off-duty police officers, picking up extra pay on their own time, using their own cars, be able to ignore parking meters? And if they are free to do so, shouldn’t that be clarified as a matter of law, rather than—as seems to be the case—the head of the police union bullying until he gets his way? I am curious what the /law/ on this is. If the law doesn’t make an exception for off-duty police officers, then I don’t see that Doug Hausladen (or his predecessors) can just create one. Let the people of New Haven decide, via their alders, in a legislative process, if that’s how they want their laws enforced.
Bottom line: it’s important that all public employees, including police officers, be the best examples of /upholding/ the law, not avoiding it. Ideally, police employees—like the rest of us—should stop at stop signs, drive the speed limit, and put quarters in meters (or use those new high-tech ways of paying). If they act outside the law, they can’t be surprised when other residents follow.
Public employees in every city in this country have to pay to park. And not necessarily right next to where they work, either.
Why does the New Haven Police Department think it’s different?
The first question i have is DO CITY HALL EMPLOYEES GET TO PARK ON CHURCH STREET FOR FREE AND IF THEY GET A TICKET DOES THEIR SUPERVISOR GET TO GO TO DOUG H. AND HAVE IT TOSSED. Doubt it.
What charter provision, ordinance or other law lets the head of traffic and parking toss these tickets?
What charter provision, ordinance or other law lets the head of traffic and parking tell his people not to ticket illegally parked personal cop cars in front of 1 union ave.?
What charter provision, ordinance or other law lets the head of traffic and parking tell his people not to ticket illegally parked personal cop cars when they are working for private employers like UI.?
And why the hell would the head of traffic and parking be talking to the police union president to accomodate this.
This smells real fishy!!!
COULD SOMEONE SITE SPECIFICALLY WHAT LAW ALLOWS THESE THINGS. MAYBE SOME INVESTIGATIVE REPORTING.
MAYBE CITY HALL EMPLOYEES SHOULD GET THE SAME DEAL.
I would like free parking for my employees. They too provide a service to this city, why can’t I get tickets waived for them?
I guess all of the out- of-town cops we hire are too precious to ask to abide by the laws we have to abide by.
We paid a ‘consultant’ to look at the parking problem near the police station? Really? I am sure that was worth the money and solved all these problems. Oh, guess not.
Hey Mr Hausladen
How about you ticket all private vehicles in the same manner.
I think UPS trucks and the like should be held to the same standards also. They are just another buisness, why do they get a free pass and not my employees? Let them walk a block or two just like everyone else.
One more thing. I can understand exempting police cruisers that aren’t creating a safety hazard. However, personal vehicles should be ticketed. Why should I as a private citizen be put at greater risk when I park on the street or near the projects because there’s inadequate garage space (several spots are taken by dusty police cruisers that are NEVER used) and a lack of metered space?
I’m sorry. This is such a pile of ... stuff.
Ticketing police cruisers while ON DUTY is ridiculous. They are exempt while responding to a call.
On the other hand the Police Union should be ashamed of themselves for arguing about free parking, why don’t they just have an illegal protest marching down Church Street to City hall AGAIN.
I have to pay to park, why shouldn’t police officers in their private cars.
THEY ARE STILL A PUBLIC CITIZENS SUBJECT TO THE LAWS AND REGULATIONS OF THE STATE AND CITY GOVERNMENT.
Next it will be the FD, then all city employees- where does it end?
A city that can’t figure out how to resolve these SIMPLE issues is just a sign of our future.
I agree UPS and FedEx trucks should be ticketed when they park in bus stops or crosswalks.
Their behavior is almost as dangerous as the behavior of the members of our Police Department.
Can the fine be raised to something more appropriate to the level of risk created, like $1,000? Then perhaps the drivers would change their behavior.
Could be worse- see this AP story:
HONOLULU — Honolulu police officers have urged lawmakers to keep an exemption in state law that allows undercover officers to have sex with prostitutes during investigations, touching off a heated debate.
But seriously- this just isn’t something to even debate. Police should pay for parking just like anyone else.
I think some of you are confused. Police officers are not just parking their cars at meters when they are not on the job. When officers work extra duty, the company, city or whoever hires that officer pays the city to have an officer there, but instead of the officer taking a cruiser, he or she takes their own vehicle. The officer is there to direct traffic, keep traffic to a calm so that the construction workers can work safely without speeding vehicles etc. It’s on their time off, but they are hired to work on their day off, which is why you see them in FULL uniform. What’s the big deal is? If the officer is working at a site to create a sense of safety for workers who hired them, why can’t they park their personal car. They need to get to the job site somehow and there are not enough police cars to give to extra duty officers, officers working overtime and officers working different squads.
PS. EXTRA DUTY and OVERTIME are two different things. :)
This is ridiculous that police officers can park their private cars anywhere without paying. Sure, police cruisers on official business can park in safe, legal spaces. However, while doing private duty jobs or while working a shift, they should have to find a legal spot or pay to park in a garage like anyone else. I work in the ER at Yale, as part of a team that saves lives, yet I pay $200 per month to park in the hospital garage. Can you imagine if every employee in the hospital decided they should be allowed to just park anywhere they wanted and then just gave the parking tickets to their boss??? City employees should pay to park as well. If people do not like it, they can work in the suburbs, where parking is free everywhere. I like Doug H. But bending over backwards to the police union is NOT the way to go on this one. Step it up DOUG H. and listen to what the public has to say on this issue! We are not happy that the police are getting special treatment that other hard-working, low wage earners are not getting.
like I stated in my prior post, I think you are confused. Officers CANNOT park their private cars anywhere without paying. They are working extra duty! It’s not private. The construction company, ATT, Comcast or whoever wants a police officer pays the city, then the city pays the department/police officer.
The cop has to use their own car to get to the location because they CANNOT just give police cruisers to every officer working extra duty (It’s not private work). If they do that, then people will be complaining that the cops aren’t patrolling the neighborhoods.
If you don’t want cops to patrol the neighborhoods, then scream to have them use a patrol car. If they use a police car/unit at the construction site (just assuming that it’s construction; it can be anything), then should the police car be ticketed too??
If your answer is no, then officers cars shouldn’t be ticketing while they are on DUTY at a job. Look at the reason WHY they are driving their cars, then it’ll make sense. If the option was to drive to the station and pick up a police car, then they would do that.
When you see a patrol vehicle at a site, the officer is on OVERTIME (paid by the city). When the officer has his own vehicle, it’s EXTRA DUTY (paid for by the company. not the city)
@ IloveMYcity203 Not to offend, but I believe you are not grasping the issue. The Union is arguing that officers should not have to pay for parking for their private vehicles while parked near or around the Police Station while on duty, in addition to job sites.
Anyone going to a job site in their private car should be required to pay for parking. Period.
If the construction crew has to pay for parking how are the police exempt?
Besides, as we all have seen, they are usually texting or otherwise distracted (very few exceptions) and get paid an enormous amount (upwards of $30hr) which is paid by the construction company - not the city. Officers on job sites are SUPPOSED to be there for safety, but they are really there because it is a REQUIREMENT by state law forced upon construction companies.(don’t get me started on that issue).
As georgie said “If everyone just parked where they wanted to and not pay..”
If I go to an offsite job location I have to pay for parking. If I go to work I have to pay to park. If I go out to dinner I have to pay to park-even at night !
Its bad enough the police don’t use legal parking spots when on duty for lunch/coffee/etc..even when available and constantly double park and block fire hydrants to perform non-emergency call related duties.
Don’t get me wrong- emergency responses are what they are and if they want the whole road-take it for safety.
Don’t back down Doug we are ALL behind you 100%. The union needs to get a clue - don’t donate when they call- tell them you can’t because parking costs too much.
“they are usually texting or otherwise distracted (very few exceptions) and get paid an enormous amount (upwards of $30hr) which is paid by the construction company - not the city.”
I never said the city paid for “extra duty.” I stated that the construction company pays the city, then the city pays out to the Police Department, which in turn pays the officer. If you read the last line of my last post, I explained the difference between extra duty (im not going to disclose) and overtime (time and a half).
“Anyone going to a job site in their private car should be required to pay for parking. Period.”
If that is the case, then let the officer use a patrol car to go to the extra duty job. Now look what we just did? When people start acting like fools around the city and people say, “I don’t see any cops,” and NHPD says, “well the public wanted us to use patrol cars, because officers should pay for their private vehicles if they are going to be at a job site while on duty,” then what’s the solution? Don’t say buy more vehicles because the public will say, “on whose dollar?”
“If the construction crew has to pay for parking how are the police exempt?
As georgie said “If everyone just parked where they wanted to and not pay..
If I go to an offsite job location I have to pay for parking. If I go to work I have to pay to park. If I go out to dinner I have to pay to park-even at night !”
“read above” that answers this.
“Its bad enough the police don’t use legal parking spots when on duty for lunch/coffee/etc..even when available and constantly double park and block fire hydrants to perform non-emergency call related duties.
Don’t get me wrong- emergency responses are what they are and if they want the whole road-take it for safety.”
I’m not disagreeing with you there lol. PD, FD and EMTs do it too…
“Besides, as we all have seen, they are usually texting or otherwise distracted (very few exceptions) and get paid an enormous amount (upwards of $30hr) which is paid by the construction company - not the city. Officers on job sites are SUPPOSED to be there for safety, but they are really there because it is a REQUIREMENT by state law forced upon construction companies.(don’t get me started on that issue).”
Yes, they do text. just like everyone else does, and then there are more times then often where they are staring down traffic as it moves. Because they are there, it creates a deterrent for the people who do not respect the workers. You’re less likely to be speeding in a work zone if you see a state trooper or officer.
It might be forced, but it’s to save lives because too many people don’t respect work zones. Had the government ignored it, then people would complain.
On the note about having to pay at work, I must say, I had a few jobs that made me paid for parking, and I was NOT happy hahaha.
posted by: Shaggybob on March 21, 2014 12:58pm
Anyone going to a job site in their private car should be required to pay for parking. Period.
How about the aldermen who get a Waiver for Parking Tickets.
I agree to disagree. I agree that everyone should pay for parking period!
What everyone fails to ignore is the reason why they have to drive their own cars is because there are NOT enough police cars!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Everyone reads to reply, but no one reads to understand. Just like politicians!
It’s not the police officers fault. Blame the city for not having enough cars. Since they are working on their day off, the department says, “get there yourself.” I’m sure if the department had a car for every officer (I’m not going to list the number for security reasons), it wouldn’t be a problem.
The residents of New Haven has to choose their battles. Do you want enough officers on the street driving and walking through your neighborhood, or do you want to fuss about officers paying the meter while acting as a deterrent to keep people from driving erratically in construction work zones.
You can have officers who are working extra duty, drive to the police department, then have an officer transport and pick them up from the site, but again, you are taking an officer away from patrolling.
Anddddd don’t get me wrong! I’m not sitting here saying officers should be exempt from everything, all I’m saying is look at why they have to drive their own cars. It’s not their option. Call the Mayor and Call Chief Esserman. Their rules! Their policies. The officers just perform them.
Don’t forget: You can’t have both.
Hey Paul: What’s the journalistic value in highlighting a typo (an omitted “e” in “heard”) in Doug’s statement? How does that drive the story? I found it snarky and distracting from otherwise interesting and complicated reportage.
We all make errors when typing, especially dedicated folks in the media and government, who work under the constant pressure of deadline and duty. Whether it is a dropped vowel or forgetting a quotation mark, these mistakes will happen.
Thanks for this open forum,
[Editor: That was a typo typo! Thanks for calling it to my attention. Fixed. As you may have noticed from our many typos on the site, we have no grounds to make fun of other people’s typos.]
posted by: IloveMYcity203 on March 21, 2014 2:33pm
I agree to disagree. I agree that everyone should pay for parking period!
What everyone fails to ignore is the reason why they have to drive their own cars is because there are NOT enough police cars.
Here is my opion.If they are on work duty and this is the case of not having enough police cars.then do like New york does.the give the officer one of these.In fact the police chief is from New york.He knows about this parking
And if you do not park in the right spots. this will happen to you.
In New York’s Strictest No-Parking Zones, Not Even the F.B.I. Is Exempt
By JOSEPH GOLDSTEINFEB. 23, 2014
posted by: William Kurtz on March 21, 2014 2:52pm
With respect, Ilovemycity203, I think you are the one who is a little confused:
What everyone fails to ignore is the reason why they have to drive their own cars is because there are NOT enough police cars!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Everyone gets that. Nearly everyone who drives a car to work uses a personal car.
If the presence of a car is an integral part of doing the job—patrolling the neighborhood, say—then an officer should use an official marked or unmarked vehicle provided by the department.
If the presence of a car is not a requirement—directing traffic at a construction site, for example—and an officer uses a personal vehicle merely to get to the extra-duty job, then he or she should of course be subject to the same parking requirements as everyone else.
Please tell me how the following scenario falls into the category protecting and serving, or demonstrates the professionalism that Mr. Cavaliere boasts about: Just yesterday, I couldn’t safely turn right onto Howard Avenue from Sylvan Avenue due to a police cruiser parked illegally, and nearly sticking out into the street from the curb. That intersection is already a very confusing one as a pedestrian, cyclist, or motorists, and has a lot of all forms of traffic going to Smilow, CMHC, the hospital and physicians buildings. The cruiser had no lights on, no officer in the driver’s seat. I doubt that they were protecting or serving anyone, but rather taking advantage of their uniform to grab lunch at the pizza place or Chinese take out restaurant. This kind of blatant disregard for me and my fellow citizens safety, to meet the needs of their inflated egos undermines the great work Chief Esserman and so many district commanders and walking best cops have been doing to improve community-police relations.
I applaud Mr. Hausladen for his courage to take on the officers who disregard common courtesy, as if their uniforms give them the right to act like golden children, while the rest of us have to follow the rules that make the city more livable for everyone.
There is a NHPD Decal that is hung up in the window so that parking attendants know that it’s a police car. When officers park, if they don’t park on the side, they usually park right behind the cones of the construction or directly next to it.
@William Kurtz, I agree with the marked/unmarked cars. There just isn’t enough cars, but I do agree. If you notice (pay attention next time), officers usually park with the rest of the construction worker cars or in a lot and the lot attendants let them park for free.
I am not defending Cavaliere. I am not saying that he is right or wrong. lol
My debate is simply that there aren’t enough cars for police officers as it is, and trust me a lot would rather drive a police car cause their own personal cars get dirty from the dirt hahaha.
Last but not least, everyone please please please stop saying officers are on private duty because they are not. They are working on their day off just as if your boss called you in to work on your day off. The only difference is they are assigned to the construction site as opposed to patrolling a neighborhood.
Yes! some officers abuse the power, but just like you have crazy people and bosses at your job, not everyone in the PD is perfect. You have some who abuse it and you have some who don’t.
Thank you all for the feedback and challenging me. :)
the whole ‘extra-duty’-‘road-job’ setup is nothing more than an overtime scam, plain and simple.
in many cases, the ‘open pit and road work’ ordinances were passed by town bodies as a way to ‘provide’ overtime to officers in exchange for either lower manning levels, or lower wage increases.
common sense tells any passersby that the cops are not needed, especially considering the OSHA-required work-area protection.
the other joke is the ‘6-hour minimum’ pay for those jobs.
william kurtz, kudos to you for a clear, concise, and correct reply.
It’s a 4 hour minimum.. just saying :)
The best solution is to take the areas where people shouldn’t park, and fill them with cheap bollards and planters. As money to rebuild streets comes in over the long run, more permanent bump outs/curbs can be installed. This is what most other cities do, realizing that ticket enforcement simply isn’t a viable way to ensure safety.
I have scanned most of these comments, and then changed the persons receiving tickets, form being police officers, to UPS delivery truck drivers, or, FedEx truck drivers, or for that matter any truck driver who decides to stop or park, where ever it pleases them, even when viable curbspaces are nearby. Ultimately it would seem that having packages delivered, and absolving all these hard working folks from all parking regulations, is of for more importance, than fulfilling the original reasons for parking regulations, and motor vehicle regulations, in city areas with the highest levels of pedestrian and motor vehicle traffic.
Of course, as most of those that commented here, any thing that the New Haven Police Officers do, is of little or no value, and there is not sense to them(the negative police commenters)why police officers need to park near where they are assigned to work in uniform, wear a weapon assigned to them by the public, a badge to enforce the law where ever they are, particularly when visible standing in the street. It makes no sense to them, as hate, fear, and mistrust, allows them to hate every officer, involved in any and all events, and then comment about the event, to give some false substance to their hate and ignorance. You know what, it’s too bad the union membership of the PD is in such disarray. A nice unified job action, well thought out, and implemented so it is highly effective, could spotlight the source of this problem. Management that has failed to come up with a solution to the parking problem at 1 Union Av since Metro North slowly started taking back their property across the street from the station, which was the original police lot. Gross lack of simple planning, top heavy management (which creates the absurd levels of red tape, which obstructs the quick and effective solutions to small problems), and just plain common sense.
The major issues here are about process and power. It is Hausladen’s second real test. (He failed the first when snow parking bans were not enforced - I fear this Czar is on his way to an 0-2 record).
Regarding process: Mark Oppenheimer’s comment is right on. The status of illegally parked private cars of police performing extra-duty work is and ought to be a question of law, as decided by the representatives of the citizens of New Haven. It should NOT be a question up to the judgement of Hausladen in the face of Police union president intimidation and closed door conversations with the mayor’s office.
Power: The former president of the police union wrote:
“While the Union has made repeated attempts to resolve this issue in a respectful manner it has been rebuffed ... The Union has learned that the traffic assistants have been ordered to ticket police officers’ vehicles or they would be written up for disciplinary action. This is the final straw. ...”
WRONG BUDDY. The “final straw” is when the president of the police union makes a threat by using the phrase “final straw” toward traffic assistants who are performing their job. The police commissioner and Hausladen and Harp have to get together IMMEDIATELY and sit down with the current president of the police union to inform him where public servants such as police officers acquire their power within a democracy. Such language is totally unacceptable and should not be tolerated.
NHI, PLEASE keep on this story. WE need to hear from the mayor, Hausladen, the police commisioner, and the police union. It goes to fundamental issues of democratic process and police union intimidation in our town.
My vote is that private cars that are illegally parked get ticketed regardless of their registrant: regardless if snow is on the ground, or if the PBA ran out of straw. I would guess that I share this opinion with most of New Haven, but it is important enough that the Alders need to take it up.
My suggestions/opinions: (1) Leave the meters on Union for ‘2 HOUR PARKING’ max for visitors of NHPD HQ to pay for parking and enforce it with Parking Authority ticketing violators. There is also parking at the Train Station or Meadow Street garage if no street parking is available.(2) Reserve all the parking on both sides North Water Street between Union and Meadow behind the Police Station and on the NHPD HQ side of Meadow Street as non-metered and “FOR POLICE VEHICLES ONLY”; have placards for non-cruiser vehicles (detective sedans) to be visibly placed in vehicles and Parking Authority enforce by ticketing violators. Giving the on-duty officers clearly designated space should alleviate most of the problem as the cruisers/sedans should not be parking all day, just while the officers are attending to business at HQ. Long term parking of personal vehicles should be in a designated lot or the paid garage (and the officers would pay to park their personal vehicles like I do when I go to work); NHPD can validate for POLICE BUSINESS visitors who park at the garage at NHPD expense. Off-duty officers who have to visit HQ should pay at meters or park in garage. And Parking Authority SHOULD enforce this area to ensure that no non-police vehicle is using POLICE ONLY space.(3) Extra duty police officers should be responsible for ‘legally’ parking their personal vehicles at their own expense -they are making ‘extra money’ so they can pay this ‘extra expense’. They would be subject to the laws like other citizens and Parking Authority would enforce with ticketing violators. Everyone should be expected to obey the law ... especially Police Officers. But we should find ways to accommodate on-duty (not ‘extra duty’) officers.
One root cause of this situation is the decade long delay building the additional parking garage at Union Station. Held up by a grudge match between state and city personalities and now by well intentioned but potentially overreaching ideals for mixed use construction, this project should be put on the fast track. In additional, leveling Church Street South, whether to build a garage for the police station or for any other remotely justifiable reason, cannot happen soon enough.