Officers in the parking enforcement ranks are law enforcement officers that contribute to public safety and facilitate the flow of traffic. By issuing tickets, monitoring illegally parked cars and maintaining order on sidewalks and busy urban roads, parking enforcement officers enable motorists to travel roadways, streets and thoroughfares free from obstructions. These officers perform a vital function that is critical to the operation of society.
Parking enforcement officers possess a background in the law that grants them the authority to impose fines, tow and impound vehicles, and order drivers out of areas blocking traffic. These officers must operate computerized systems so that they can pull up records on vehicles and properly notify owners about actions regarding their vehicle. These hard working officers also must be capable of responding to hostile or irate individuals while performing their duties.
Parking Enforcement Officer Job Description
Parking enforcement officers are trained to perform the following responsibilities:
- Patrol areas in vehicles or on foot
- Conduct vehicle searches using tag or license information
- Issue tickets to improperly parked vehicles
- Check meters for expiration of time limits
- Place large signs or boots on vehicles that have far exceeded parking limits
- Collect coins from parking meters
- Alert repair crews to damaged or missing meters
- Enforce animal control laws
- Alert police, fire or medical personnel to emergency situations
How to Become a Parking Enforcement Officer
A job as a parking enforcement officer is usually obtained through a civil service employment program. Local governments will employ parking enforcement officers who have successfully completed an involved selection process. This is a law enforcement position, so candidates are expected to possess at least a high school diploma, and a two-year or four year degree may be helpful during the application and promotion processes.
- Strayer University - Bachelors of Science Degree in Criminal Justice
- Rasmussen College - Law Enforcement Associate's Degree and Post-Degree Certificates; Criminal Justice Bachelor's Degrees
- Michigan State University - Online Master of Science in Law Enforcement Intelligence and Analysis
- Saint Joseph's University - Online Master of Science in Criminal Justice
- Utica College - Online Bachelor's of Science in Criminal Justice
Applicants should possess the following qualifications:
- Valid driver’s license
- High school diploma
- Good physical condition
If the parking enforcement job is being offered through the local or state police department, additional qualifications like U.S. citizenship, no felony convictions and a college degree may be required. Police departments may also mandate successful passage of rigorous physical exams.
Most parking enforcement officers, however, are employed independently of police departments. These officers report directly to a governmental agency like the Department of Transportation or Public Safety. Jobs with these agencies typically have less demanding qualifications.
Before filling parking enforcement jobs, officers must complete a departmental training program that will instruct them on:
- How to issue tickets
- Responses to hostile individuals
- Researching vehicles
- Towing and booting
- Operation of a parking enforcement vehicle
- Animal control issues
- Reading meters
Parking Enforcement Officer Salary
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that parking enforcement officers earned on average $36,810 in annual salary in 2010. The top ten percent of parking enforcement officers received salaries of $55,530 or higher. The largest employers of parking enforcement officers were
- Local government: $38,660
- Colleges, universities, professional schools: $26,130
- State government: $41,060
- Employment services: $26,730
- Medical facilities and hospitals: $27,290