Legal Virtual Chalking for Parking Management

Legal Virtual Chalking for Parking Management
Legal Virtual Chalking for Parking Management

Virtual chalking (also referred to as e-chalking; or electronic chalking) is on its way to becoming the new standard in vehicle tracking for parking enforcement.

Usually, traffic cops use a relatively standard technique to keep an eye on drivers who park their cars. To ensure that drivers don’t overstay the time limit in parking lots, officers literally chalk their tires with a mark. When the car owners return they may find a parking infringement notice left by the police or bylaw officers due to this form of vehicle tracking. Early this year an individual managed to bring this practice into question with a legal victory.

The Case That Changed It All

Alison Taylor received 15 parking tickets in Saginaw, Michigan, over three years.  Interestingly, all the tickets were issued by the same parking enforcement officer named Tabitha Hoskins. To monitor her parking behaviors, Hoskins chalked her tires. Taylor was one of the many Americans who believed that such activity violated her rights as a citizen. However, unlike others, Taylor decided to fight and sued Hoskins and the City. She claimed that Hoskins’ chalking violated her Fourth Amendment right which dictates that she does not have to suffer from an unreasonable search.

Initially, she did not have much success as the district court rejected her lawsuit. However, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals disagreed and reversed the verdict. The court established the chalking activity as a search and declared it as unconstitutional and unreasonable. Since no exceptions were applied to the warrant requirement, the warrantless search was deemed as falling outside the scope of the law.

The court gave an example of the automobile exception that cannot be applied in this case because the exception makes it mandatory for the officers to have probable cause that can justify that the vehicle has any criminal evidence. Similarly, the community caretaker exception was also irrelevant because the City failed to prove how the search had any link to public safety.

Lastly, the court noted that the City was unsuccessful in arguing how a warrantless search was justifiable to discourage drivers from breaking their parking times. Since the decision came from the 6th Circuit, it established a new standard not only in Michigan, but also in Tennessee, Kentucky, and Ohio.

A Case for Virtual Chalking

There is a reason this case generated a great deal of buzz. Taylor’s case was rational and the court was quick to support her. Hence, as someone who is a traffic cop, a parking enforcement officer, or someone at the helm of parking affairs in the U.S., you cannot underestimate this ruling.

Instead, you can go for a solution that is not only completely legal but also offers a great deal of convenience, making your job a lot easier than before.

How OPS-COM Solves the Issue

The OperationsCommander Parking Control (OPS-COM) for Android remote enforcement app has got the answer to your woes. It is an app that is used in parking citations, streamlining management, and retrieval of violations. The end-user, i.e. the security staff, can view and store details of the vehicle. As a result, you don’t have to rely on traditional chalking which is risky from a legal perspective, but it is also quite laborious and time-consuming. Instead, you can go for virtual chalking, one of the most innovative and useful features in the OPS-COM.

With e-chalking, you can experience the marvels of digitization. It allows you to log the specific location and timing of a parked vehicle. You can even configure a grace period before the driver can be charged for a ticket. A patron can be offered a time limit of around 15 minutes so that they can pay at the parking terminal or else they are penalized with a ticket.

Virtual chalking is an online process that takes the manual, real-world task of chalking tires to the digital realm. It generates a time-stamped image of the entire car, along with its license plate so that police officers can use their mobiles to manage parking violations.

Most importantly, this generated image can be attached to the violation and will be considered as evidence in a court of law. The proof of date and location in the images means that the entire process becomes transparent where the guilty party doesn’t have any escape. All your officers need to tap “Virtual Check” to capture and save the image.

Now, if we compare the app with the trial of Ms. Taylor, then the app does not infringe on any constitutional rights of citizens. Hence, this app effectively legalizes chalking for you.

How to Perform Virtual Chalking

Virtual chalking of vehicles can be performed in several simple steps on the remote enforcement handheld device.

  1. After you install the app, tap Search Vehicle and go to Vehicle Search.
  2. Type the Plate Number and hit the search button.
  3. In response, you can view a list of vehicles. After a long press on the displayed vehicle, you can get additional details.
  4. Among the options, tap Virtual Chalk for initiating the e-chalking process.
  5. Tap the image button to launch the camera mode and capture the image of a vehicle. A thumbnail view appears soon with a refreshed screen. Tap Save to store the driver’s information.
  6. Wait for a period of time to view the chalking details. Now, perform steps 1 to 3 again. You can find red text, where a note informs of the chalking activity, which occurred several minutes ago.

In the case of wall-mounted cameras, or a mobile LPR solution the chalking is done as soon as the camera “sees” the plate.

In all cases, the information is shared across all connected devices.

Virtual Chalking Use Case

Final Thoughts

OPS-COM is a complete parking and security management platform and does not come with e-chalking alone. You can issue violations, search vehicles, perform LPR scanning, process permits search, and use a lot of features and functionalities. It is a large-scale management app that can boost productivity in your parking management activities.

Install this OPS-COM handheld application to improve your parking management.

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