Several years ago The Police News published in it's print edition, photos of car found unlawfully parked in handicap parking spaces. We called them GOTCHAS. Those photos became so popular that readers all over the county would send us GOTCHA photos from their city. We were so overwhelmed with GOTCHAS we could no longer print them all, so we discontinued that feature.
Drivers continue abuse the handicap parking spaces. Police are helpless to control them. Some departments have even employed their Citizens Police Academy organizations to write tickets in parking lots where they find these violators. Although they don't cite these drivers as the state law intends them to do, the are making and effort. Many of their citations are dismissed in court because they don't meet the requirements set out by law.
We will see, not only handicap violators, but just plain stupid and discourteous drivers parking in every conceivable way and when we can, we whip out the Police News camera and, as we call it in the business, "light'em up". We have decided we will snap these drivers whenever and wherever we find them and publish them in our online GOTCHA.
Since we won't know who is driving the car at the time of the violation, we will often publish the name of the registered owner of the car. They, after all, are responsible, in the end, for the vehicle being there, and they are the one's who would go to court if they were cited by police.
(Left) The driver of this truck parked in front of the AT&T store on 61st Street in Galveston, is what we call a "Bully" parker. He just wheels into a space or two, totally without regard for anyone else who may need a parking space. There is no law against this but maybe GOTCHA will result in some public scorn of this creep.
(Right) This SUV was actually an authorized handicap parker. There was a placard hanging from it's mirror. We assume it was valid, although a very big percent of the ones we see are forgeries. The problem with this parker is he/she was parked in the zone marked for vehicles with a side door to unload a handcappled person. We suspect this persons handicap was blindness. If they couldn't see how to get into this space, they really shouldn't have a driver's license. Right?
Send your GOTCHAS to firstname.lastname@example.org
Certain criteria must be met for us to publish GOTCHA photos. That includes a clear vision of the parking space, a clear vision of the vehicle license plate number, a vision of the rearview mirror indicating no placard. Also, if there is not a handicap parking sign on a post or building
visible from the rear of the vehicle, then the parking space itself is not in compliance with state law and the driver cannot be held responsible in court. Handicap parking spaces must meet state requirements in order for a driver to be held in violation. We are also interested in photos of parking spaces which may be marked only with the handicap logo on the ground and not sign at the front of the space. Please send photo with name of business and address where the space is located and photographed.