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University Times

The student news site of California State University - Los Angeles

University Times

The student news site of California State University - Los Angeles

University Times

OPINION: Parking enforcement officers gave parking citations away like candy last semester

One+of+the+eight+parking+tickets+I+received+last+semester.+
Tristan Longwell
One of the eight parking tickets I received last semester.

For the entire fall 2023 semester, I paid for daily parking on the days that I came to campus, yet I was ticketed every month of the semester.

My frustration with Cal State LA’s public safety department and the parking enforcement officers who work for them turned into curiosity. Why did I keep getting parking tickets when I was paying for parking? 

Deciding to pay for daily parking when I had class on campus four days a week may not have been the smartest financial decision. That being said, at least six of the eight parking tickets I received last semester were undeserved.

 I appealed all eight citations and only six were dismissed. I could argue that the other two should have been dismissed as well.

In December, I noticed that the license plate number listed on a few of the citations I received was incorrect, and noted this in my last ticket appeal. This did not make sense to me because I had only ever input my actual license plate number.

 After noticing this, I went into the app and re-input my correct license plate number. I am unsure if the app glitched or if somehow my license plate number got changed in their system by a parking enforcement officer, but I originally put in the correct plate information.  

Every time I received a parking ticket, I appealed it because I paid for daily parking permits and did not understand why I deserved a citation. I assumed that parking enforcement officers knew when people were paying for daily parking permits versus the semester permit. So, I reached out to the public safety department and asked them the following question(s):

‘How do the parking enforcement officers know when someone has paid for daily parking if they do not have a parking permit?’ I asked in an email. 

Executive Director of Public Safety Carmen Gachupin responded in an email that the “enforcement software” used by parking enforcement officers is loaded onto Samsung phones, known as citation handheld units, and is dedicated to scanning license plates to verify that a plate has a valid parking permit “to park in specific areas as per the permit’s permission rules.”

“All our parking systems are integrated with license plate recognition technology. Regardless of how a parking permit is purchased, once the license plate is scanned, the officer is able to determine how the parking permit was purchased,” Gachupin said.

Between August and December, the public safety department issued 7,666 parking violations, according to Gachupin. From this number, the department received 2,427 citation appeals of which 1,770 were dismissed and 657 were denied. About 73% of the citation appeals were dismissed or dropped. A citation dismissal means the ticket, also known as a citation, was dropped and a citation denial indicates that the appeal was not approved. 

During the 2022 to 2023 academic year, the department received 3,050 appeals and 68% of those citations were dismissed. 

A dismissed parking citation does not mean that the ticket was wrongfully issued, according to Gachupin. She said a ticket given to a vehicle parked in a restricted area might be dismissed as a one-time courtesy if the cited individual does not have prior tickets for the same reason and if they have a current permit at the time of the citation. 

“However, if the vehicle has absolutely no permit when parked, the ticket will not be dismissed.  The information and attachments provided with each citation appeal received are carefully reviewed and researched before they are adjudicated,” she said in her email.

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About the Contributor
Tristan Longwell, News Editor
Tristan Longwell is the News Editor for the University Times (UT). She is a senior majoring in criminal justice, with a minor in journalism. Longwell has an interest in documentary filmmaking, creative and uncreative writing, music, fashion, true crime and all things Los Angeles.
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