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Ask Policeman Dan: Are laws enforced only when it is convenient?

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Heyburn Police Chief Dan Bristol

Heyburn Police Chief Dan Bristol

Q: Years ago, in Jerome, I got a ticket for parking the wrong way in front of my home (deservedly). Seems like my neighborhood (Twin Falls) is filled with people doing this even though there are cops that live here. People also park their boats, campers, trailers, etc… that extend over the sidewalk making it necessary for people to have to step out into the street to pass. Are we just making laws and only enforcing them when it’s convenient? There were several vehicles parked on street all summer with expired tags and flat tires too. I’m not trying to be a “Karen” here. But I walk my dog every day and notice things. — Peggy

A: To the person getting the ticket there is no convenience unless they like giving away money. There are several reasons why things might be different in a city compared to another.

Some cities take parking issues more seriously than other cities. Now that might seem injudicious but many times parking issues come from the top down and not so much the bottom up. One city might push for harsh parking violations to be issued while other cities might not feel they are as important as other traffic violations.

It is also the officer’s discretion and that could be a factor here as well. While some officers focus on things like speeders, reckless drivers or D.U.I.s, some focus on parking issues that the officer might feel leads to traffic problems or crashes.

Another factor here is that some cities had code enforcers whose main job is to enforce ordinance violations, which includes city parking violations. Some of these enforcers also have the discretion to cite or not cite for parking violations. I would hope that there is a warning before any citations get issued.

You could call in the violations that you witness. That might just be the only way that anybody even knows an ordinance violation occurred.

Finally the other and possibly main factor is that there simply are not enough law enforcement personnel to handle each and every traffic issue that might present itself. Many times law enforcement is running from call to call and not even having the time to focus on ordinance violations.

Officer down

Please put these officers, killed in the line of duty, and their families in your prayers. They fought the good fight, now may they rest in peace. God bless these heroes.

  • Deputy Sheriff Lena Nicole Marshall, Jackson County Sheriff, Georgia
  • Police Officer Paramhans Desai, Henry County Police, Georgia
  • Lieutenant Chad Brackman, Maricopa County Sheriff, Arizona
  • Detective Michael J. Dion, Chicopee Police, Massachusetts
  • Corrections Officer V Kevin Dupree, Texas Department of Criminal Justice
  • Police Officer Michael D. Chandler, Big Stone Gap Police, Virginia
  • K-9 Rogue, Cedar Park Police, Texas

Have a question for Policeman Dan? Email your question(s) to or look for Ask Policemandan on Facebook and click the like button. Mail to: Box 147, Heyburn, Idaho, 83336.

Dan Bristol is the City of Heyburn chief of police.


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