The Christmas shopping season's upon us.
Time to double-check gift lists, rush to the mall and find a parking space close to the doors.Ahhh, a parking space.
Unless you're up with the chickens, plan on hitching your car out of eyesight of the mall, lacing up your sneakers and getting a workout.
Or take your chances and park in that spot for the handicapped that's almost never taken.
Bad idea, especially if you shop in West Valley City.
The city's police department has deputized several private citizens to cite able-bodied motorists parking in zones for the handicapped.
"Each volunteer will have a ticket book and identification," said West Valley Police Sgt. Steve Sandquist. "If one of the volunteers issues you a ticket for parking in a handicapped spot, it's the same as if the ticket were issued by a police officer".
Disabled drivers welcome the beefed-up parking enforcement.
"This is a big problem that gets worse around the holidays," said Ted Loosli, who uses a wheelchair. "People who have (disabilities) need those spots."
The volunteer program has been used successfully in the past. In fact, West Valley resident Rex Moosman has ticketed almost 1,200 drivers in four years for illegally parking in handicapped zones.
"I'm retired, so I'm sometimes able to put in about 50 hours a week on parking enforcement," Moosman said.
Approved volunteers will receive several hours of instruction on issuing citations, appearing in court and avoiding con-fron-ta-tions.
Anyone interested in volunteering for the program should contact the West Valley City Police Department.