BROKEN ARROW, Okla. - The Broken Arrow Police Department issued a release Wednesday aimed at handicap parking abusers, warning violators of strict enforcement and hefty fines.
"During the last several years the number of disabled veterans has increased and more people are being issued handicap parking permits," the release states. "Oklahoma has approximately 101,000 disabled veterans. The number of people that don't respect this parking privilege has also increased."
BAPD officials say they've printed more than 200 tickets for improper handicap parking since February alone.
"The excuses range from they were just running in," Sgt. Tom Cooper said Wednesday, "They had no time, they just wanted to park there."
Bob Powell, a 91-year-old World War II, Korean War and Vietnam War veteran, still lives an active lifestyle but has adopted a walker and a handicap placard as the years have passed.
He says he sees healthy drivers pull into the reserved parking all too frequently.
"Why can't they drive another 10 or 20 feet?" he said. "And leave it open to someone who is honestly handicapped.
Drivers that park in marked handicap space without a visible state-issued placard are subject to a $155 fine under Broken Arrow ordinance and a $500 penalty under state law. Drivers inappropriately using another's placard are also fine-eligible.
The department also reminded residents that permanent handicap placards are no longer valid.