Sheriff's Office cracking down on those illegally parked in handicap spots

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) - The Onondaga County Sheriff’s Office is cracking down on drivers who illegally use handicap parking spaces. 

Deputies have confiscated hundreds of illegally-used handicap tags over the past two years from public areas like the Amphitheater or Destiny USA. 

The numbers may seem high, but for someone like Sally Johnson, it comes as no surprise to her. 

Johnson relies on those handicap spots.

"It's overwhelming, but it's something I know that exists because I live it everyday of my life,” Johnson said. 

At least once a week, she says she finds her spots filled illegally, whether the driver knows it's wrong or not.

"There are also people out there outright altering tags, using tags they know don't belong to them. One gentleman thought it was okay to use his deceased mother's tag,” said Onondaga County Sheriff Gene Conway. 

While deputies and trained volunteers will write tickets that come with fines up to $350, the Sheriff's Office also wants to educate people who don't know the rules.

The tags can expire, and a doctor has to approve the application. Those painted lines in between handicapped spots are off limits just as much as the parking space itself.

“We'll come across a car parked in handicapped and a young teenager gets in or a 20-something gets in the car and we walk up and ask is this your handicapped placard, and they go ‘no, it belongs to my mother,’ and we tell them they're illegally parked and they try to tell us the placard was issued to the car, the placard is actually issued to the driver,” Conway said. 

The Sheriff’s Office is looking for volunteers to train that can help look out for illegally parked cars.

For more information on signing up to be a volunteer, click here. 

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