Bozeman parking officers monitor for violations with upgraded technology

Posted at 2:25 PM, Apr 26, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-26 18:31:19-04

BOZEMAN – A recent federal case out of Michigan concerning parking tickets and how officers enforce timed parking is causing departments across the country to think about how they enforce the same.

A woman from Saginaw received 15 tickets in three years, so she sued both the officer who was chalking her tires and the city, saying her Fourth Amendment rights were violated and won in federal court.

In Bozeman, the city’s park and program manager says the process of chalking tires to keep track of cars parked in timed areas has dramatically changed, with officers no longer doing it all.

Instead, the city has moved to using license plate readers, which will electronically note the time and location of parked cars and eventually report violations back to officers.

The park and program manager, Ed Meece, said since the growth rate of Bozeman has increased over the last 10 years and there are four officers working to monitor park violations, this technology has helped them keep up without hiring more staff.

“It is more accurate and it is certainly more updated,” Meece said. “We’re leading the way in the state of Montana and so the system actually records all of the information for us; license plate, all of that is recorded when the officer prints the ticket, so it does streamline the process. As you can imagine, we are able to do much larger areas, much more rapid pace.”

Meece adds that the city has also added newer technology in parking garages — including a system to read both front and back license plates to keep track of park time.

Reporting by Cody Boyer for MTN News