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Parking Control Officer


How often have you or someone your know experienced this? We park the car somewhere, promising ourselves it will only be five minutes, and when we return a half an hour later to find a ticket on the windshield, we know the parking control officer has been hard at work. Wherever, there is public parking, there are parking control officers, who monitor assigned areas like downtown streets, public parking lots and meters.

Parking control officers have an important job to do. Parking control officers enforce parking by-laws. They regulate parking, in order to give eveyone a chance to park, and enjoy the services a community has to offer. They ensure that no one parks in front of fire hydrants, or in a bus zone.
These officers pay close attention to license plates, and put chalk marks on tires so they know when a car got there. They have to keep tabs on all cars, even the ones at a moneyed meter, because once the time runs out, that car is up for a ticket. In some areas, individuals are not even allowed to re-meter. A parking control officer knows if they have outstayed their two hour time slot and needs to move on.

Along with monitoring parking lots and spaces, parking control officers empty coins from meters and parking lots, and keep notes and records of tickets issued. They look for repeat offenders and they also report any missing traffic signals or signs.
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  Interests and Skills  
Interested in a job as a parking control officer? Parking control officers are keen observers who notice details, and have a desire to see justice done properly. They should be interested in problem-solving, conflict resolution, and negotiation. Honesty, maturity, integrity, and a non-sexist, culturally open attitude are tremendous assets to a successful parking control officer. They must also be fit, have good eyesight (with our without glasses), and be comfortable walking for hours at a time.

  Typical Tasks  
  • Tour certain areas, monitoring cars for parking violations
  • Mark cars with chalk and copy down license plates, location, and time
  • Issue tickets
  • After a certain number of tickets, order a tow truck
  • May arrange for car to be impounded
  • Prepare related legal documents
  • Appear in court and give testimony
  • The typical day will involve walking a certain area, watching for illegal parking, expired meters, or repeat metering. Parking control officers document their day's work, issue tickets, and arrange for towing. The job permits for work outdoors, as well as travel throughout the community.

  Workplaces, Employers and Industries  
  • Parking control officers are employed by state or municipal governments. They can work alone, or they can work in teams, depending on the size of the community. They work outdoors, in all weather conditions. They generally work weekdays, during the day up until early evening. They also work on Saturdays, but parking in most municipalities is free on Sundays.

  Long Term Career Potential  
Anyone trained as a parking control officer has quite a few options. There is always the possibility of moving up the ranks, advancing to supervisor positions. There are also positions with other by-law enforcement agencies. Former parking control officers may also become security guards or private investigators.

  Educational Paths  
While it is possible to get hired with little or no experience and/or education. Experience in a related administration or regulatory occupation is helpful. Completion of a college program or courses in law and security is also beneficial.

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Employment Statistics, 2002, http://www.bls.gov/oes/2002/oes_nat.htm

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