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OGDEN POLICE TRAINING CITIZENS TO TICKET ILLEGALLY PARKED CARS

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Police have started a program authorizing private individuals to ticket drivers illegally parked in stalls meant for the disabled.

Security personnel at McKay-Dee Hospital have begun writing tickets, and the Ogden City Mall and a Harmon's market may soon join them.Under the new program, employee volunteers from interested businesses can get some simple training from Ogden police and become authorized to ticket parking violators.

Police Chief Mike Empey credited resident Debbie Hoggan, who has been fighting for improved access for the physically disabled, with the idea. Hoggan, whose 12-year-old daughter Mandy is disabled, has persistently lobbied city officials on disabled access and parking.

The employee training with city police takes about an hour, and the business is issued books of tickets. Businesses then turn in the tickets to the police department. If the alleged violator contests the ticket, the person who wrote it would have to testify in court.

The program raises some concerns, including liability to the city if a ticket writer gets in a confrontation or is injured. Sgt. Burl Malmborg says volunteers will be participating at their own risk.

Part of the training stresses avoidance of confrontations with the violators, Malmborg said. Police may follow up with charges for disorderly conduct or assault.

The police department prefers to confine the program to employees writing tickets at their own place of business but is willing to consider training volunteers who would patrol at large.