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Handicapped Parking Violators May See Crackdown

Sheriff Bob Gualtieri told a Dunedin advisory group for the disabled that he's going to give them the power to ticket drivers illegally parked in handicapped spaces.

Sheriff Bob Gualtieri told a small group of disabled residents last week that he’s building a program that would authorize qualified citizens to issue tickets to drivers who illegally park in designated handicapped spaces.

“I personally think it’s pretty appalling that people park in these spaces who don’t need them,” Gualtieri said to a group of eight people, some with limited vision and mobility, at a recent American with Disabilities Act Advisory Committee meeting at  in Dunedin.

Residents had complained a month earlier that the law wasn’t being enforced. Committee chairman John Espey invited Gualtieri to address the group's concerns at its Feb. 24 meeting.

The interim Pinellas County sheriff, wearing a white dress shirt and tie, promised that within the next 30 days, he would be ready to roll out a structured training program for citizen patrol groups that puts handicapped parking enforcement in their hands. 

“I’m a big believer in getting things done,” Gualtieri said. “We don’t need to meet and talk, meet and talk.”

Gualtieri said he would likely model the initiative after existing citizen patrol programs and that local municipalities would get a percentage of the revenue generated from fines.

Greg Rice, planning and development director for the city, was in attendance at the meeting. He mentioned he would probably send members of the citizen patrol out in pairs to minimize safety concerns. 

Gualtieri took office in November after Sheriff to care for his ailing wife. Gualtieri has 20 years of service with the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office and is up for election Nov. 6.

He will face former longtime sheriff Everett Rice, Randy Heine, Tim Ingold and Scott Swope in the election.

A nonpartisan sheriff’s candidate forum is scheduled at the on Douglas Avenue from 7-9 p.m. April 18. Residents are asked to email questions for the candidates in advance to hsmithconsulsv@aol.com

Rake Atero March 03, 2012 at 05:39 PM
Did anyone ever see the guy with the Handicap license plates on his motorcycle? Next time I see him I'll take a picture.
Stan March 22, 2012 at 05:48 PM
@Barb, So you are qualified to determine someone disability simply by watching them get out of a car? You need to teach Dr's how to do this so we don't need x'rays. cat scans, MRI's etc. anymore. Hell we won't even need examinations, you can just watch people get out of their car's and diagnose their arthritis, back problems, bad/replaced joints, and whatever else may be the reason they have that disabled permit.
Stan March 22, 2012 at 05:58 PM
Why would anyone care bout your picture?? Just because he rides a motorcycle he can't have a disability that entitles him to a parking permit?
KARL CHEBATOR April 05, 2012 at 03:53 PM
This is for physically handicapped individuals not mentally handicapped. The people I see using those spots are fit.
fb May 13, 2012 at 06:23 PM
read the requirements for the permit!!!! It does'nt say anything about cognitive problems. You're the exact type of person that pisses me off when I can't get a spot because there is nothing wrong with your ability to ambulate. When you're questioned about it you probably say 'some days I can't even get out of bed'. then you're probably not going to drive that day. my disability keeps me from ambulating 'normally' every day all day. I can't wait for house bill 27 to be passed and funded so I don't have to put up with people like you. I would love to report you on the fraud hotline.

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