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Cop Forks Over $35 for Dinner Ticket

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Cop Forks Over $35 for Dinner Ticket

Gus Philpott
Woodstock Advocate
July 29, 2008

Did you see the Associated Press article about the Portland, Oregon, cop who parked in a no-parking zone while he ate dinner?

An attorney, who was in the restaurant, approached Officer Chadd Stensgaard and told him he was illegally parked. In other words, park in a legal parking spot, just like the rest of us. The cop told the attorney that he was allowed to do so, and the attorney filed a complaint and had a ticket issued.

Police are allowed to violate parking laws when they are on official business. A meal break is not official business. The cop was fined $35.00.

I remember an afternoon in Denver when I flagged down a motorcycle cop and asked him if he would issue a ticket to an illegally parked car. When he said that he would, I pointed out a blue Chevrolet four-door sedan that parked illegally in a no-parking zone every afternoon at 5:00PM, with the back end of the car across a crosswalk and interfering with traffic flow because of a curve in the street.

As soon as the cop realized I wanted him to put a ticket on a detective's car, he backpedaled very quickly and said he wasn't "allowed" to ticket a police car. I told him he could do it and that I understood that he didn't want to do it. If the cop was on official business, a judge would dismiss it.

The cop refused, which I expected him to do. Obviously, he would have been dead meat at the police station, if he had tagged a detective's car. I talked to his commanding officer the next day, and he told me the cop should have just written the ticket. Of course...

Most cops in smaller communities obey the traffic laws. Towns are just too small to do otherwise. But when you get into Chicago or Denver or L.A. or New York, it's a different story.


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