Stillwater News Press

Local News

July 12, 2012

Stillwater parking enforcement officer just doing his job

STILLWATER, Okla. — Roger Ervin pulled up in front of a white truck and flashed his yellow lights. Ervin, a parking enforcement officer with the Stillwater Police Department, pulled out his handheld device and began typing in plate numbers and photographing the crooked parking job. A printer on his hipped buzzed out a ticket.

The truck owner rushed out of an apartment building and Ervin explained the situation. The driver moved immediately and the ticket was voided.

“He was working in the building,” said Ervin. “I don't always void tickets but he was working and moved.”

Ervin continued his daily rounds by chalking tires, writing tickets and chatting with store owners. Richard Danel of Varsity Barbershop waved and jokingly mimed at Ervin through the window not to ticket his truck parked in front.

“I've given him tickets before and he's paid them all,” Ervin said.

Some take getting tickets far more personally.

Ervin said he has been yelled at, cussed, threatened and drivers have attempted to zip off before he can print out his ticket. But Ervin keeps his emotions in check and tries not to upset by it.

“It's not a personal thing,” he said. “This is how I make my living.” He added most people are not hostile.

Ervin was born in Oklahoma City and raised in Perkins. He and three others make up Stillwater's parking enforcement team. They enforce about 30 city ordinances that carry fines from $5 for parking too long to $500 for parking in a handicapped spot. Ervin said he writes about 25 to 35 tickets a day.

The freedom and unpredictability are two major reasons Ervin said he enjoys the job. He also enjoys interacting with members of the community. And when he isn't at work, Ervin said he enjoys watching Cincinnati Reds games with his two sons.

“I was a big Pete Rose fan,” Ervin said.

Ervin debunked several common beliefs people have about parking enforcement. The officers have no ticket quotas as Ervin said they are illegal. He said officers do not play favorites with certain cars or people. Ervin said not paying a ticket is the wrong way to protest it and could result in getting your car impounded. He said residents have the right to take any parking ticket to court if they feel it is unjust.

Parking enforcement officers are noncommissioned officers — meaning they can't make arrests. However, Ervin said they are considered another pair of eyes on the street. They listen to the police radio and keep an eye out for suspects.

Ervin recalled an incident where a parking enforcement officer helped recover a stolen vehicle when they saw it parked at a local business. If they are near an accident scene, parking enforcement will secure intersections or radio for emergency responders.

Ervin said he enjoys working with his fellow parking enforcement officers and the police officers.

“They are all extremely good,” Ervin said.

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