Drivers should take extra care to pay their parking tickets on time — armed with a new plate-scanning technology, Oxford Police Department is on the prowl for unpaid citations.

The department installed new license plate readers (LPRs) on the front of their police cars in August. As the police drive through Oxford, the reader scans the plates of parked cars and notifies the officer if the parked car’s owner has a citation that has gone unpaid for at least a month. At that point, the officer will boot the car.

“It hopefully will be a deterrent for people that are chronically not paying their citations, and it will encourage them to pay the citations and therefore encourage them not to receive the tickets in the first place,” OPD Lt. Lara Fening said.

The boot will be removed when the original citation is paid. In addition to the cost of the ticket, removing the boot costs an extra $100 for the first 24 hours after it’s placed. Every additional day the boot stays on, a $12 fee is added. If the fees are not paid within the first 24 hours, OPD can also impound the vehicle, which costs an additional $100.

These prices apply to the first time a boot is placed on a person’s car. The second occurrence will cost $200 for the first 24 hours, and any further instances will be $300.

The plate-reading technology is also able to detect if a car has been parked somewhere over the time limit. For instance, the parking meters Uptown have a two-hour limit, and people are not supposed to feed the meter and add more time.

The LPR helps to make the police officers’ jobs easier, making them able to identify parking violators, which before was only possible if they recognized the car.

“I think it provides a more efficient work process for us at the police department and in our parking unit,” Fening said.

Miami fifth-year Joey Graham, who said he has had eight to ten parking citations in the past two years, is especially worried about the LPR.

“As someone who has two jobs, if I were parked in front of Skippers delivering and had an outstanding parking ticket, which does tend to happen, and they booted my car, that would absolutely ruin my day because I wouldn’t be able to work,” Graham said.

According to Fening, this technology is used at many police stations across the country, including the Cincinnati Police Department.

OPD’s scanner will only be used off-campus, where the department has jurisdiction.

berryrd@miamioh.edu

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