The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

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Parking officers reinforce their role as a campus resource

Many professions –law, dentistry and the property repossession business, specifically — seem to be assigned certain negative connotations that are difficult to overcome.

Some students view CSUN parking enforcement officers in that same negative light, and oftentimes only interact with the officers when they come back from class to find an officer tucking a $35 parking ticket under their windshield wiper.

“The main misconception from students is that we are hiding in the bushes waiting for them to leave to give them a ticket,” said Fred Garcia, who has been a CSUN parking officer for 24 years. “This is not the case. We are here to serve the campus and help the students with the amount of resources we have.”

When asked about what they do exactly, some CSUN parking officers said that while their main focus is facilitating legal parking, there are other services they perform on a regular basis, such as helping students change flat tires, maintaining and fixing parking meters jammed with various objects, working campus information booths when staff members go on break, and recharging dead car batteries.

“We will go above and beyond to help the students out with the resources we have,” Garcia said. The parking officers have been trained by AAA to help students with basic car trouble, but their services do not extend off campus because of liability concerns.

Garcia and another parking officer, Carlos Castillo, both have had experiences where their work had been appreciated by students, and not just criticized or appealed against.

“I’ve had people in the past thank me for citing someone parked without a permit because they have a current permit (but) could not find a place to park because those who park illegally take up the spaces,” Garcia said. “That is unfair for (those people) who do have a valid permit.”

“The perceptions most students have of us is (that) we are mean people when we give a citation, and we are heroes when we unlock cars,” said Castillo, who has been a CSUN parking officer for 15 years. “But overall, my job is really rewarding, and I like listening to the students to see what they have to say, as well as take time to explain our process.”

Still, their process is sometimes what pits the parking officers against students. Despite the additional services they provide, the parking officers said the majority of their time is spent issuing citations to vehicles that are parked illegally.

Violations that are grounds for a citation include vehicles that have no parking permits, expired permits, forged or altered permits and vehicles parked in non-designated areas. Five or more citations or forged or altered permits can result in a more serious consequence, such as immobilization of the vehicle with a boot device.

Some students, when they are being ticketed, have asked the parking attendants if they are forced to meet a quota considering how many citations they give out.

Castillo said that that isn’t the case.

“We don’t have a quota that must be met,” he said.

Additionally, the parking officers do not issue moving violations, as that is something that can only be done by CSUN police officers.

An example of what a parking officer deals with on a not-so-typical day occurred June 28, when Daniel Price and Jeff Borrow, both parking officers as well as CSUN students, were alerted by dispatch of a possibly altered daily parking pass discovered by another parking officer in the B5 lot.

“When this happens, we send backup to inspect the possible forgery, because this is a more serious violation,” Price said.

Price, Borrow and the other parking officer agreed that the day-pass parking permit had had its original date altered.

The violation was cause for the car to be immobilized with a boot, which Parking Officer Rex Liva placed on the rear driver’s side wheel of the car, along with a large yellow warning sticker notifying the owner of the immobilization.

“I justify (giving the boot) because it’s better than what we used to do, which was have the car towed,” Price said. “This makes it easier for the person to take care of the situation without leaving the campus and having to deal with the car being impounded.”

In order for the boot to come off, the owner will have to pay a $35 citation fee, an additional $55 for boot removal, and will have to turn in the altered permit.

“Having to boot a car (happens) very few and far between,” Borrow said. “We mostly deal with citations and assisting students with car troubles.”

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