'Save Our Space' volunteers patrol parking lots to enforce handicapped parking rules

PHOENIX - On the busiest shopping day of the year, a group of Phoenix police volunteers patrolled Valley parking lots to make sure shoppers were obeying the law.

They were looking for people parked illegally in handicapped spaces.

"A good day is when I patrol for four hours and don't have to write a ticket," said Accessibility Compliance Enforcement volunteer Garvin Smith.

The uniformed ACE volunteers, recruited and trained by the Phoenix Police Department, visited some of Phoenix's busiest shopping malls in order to cite and/or educate people who park illegally in handicapped parking spaces. The groups writes an average 1,200 tickets a year.

If you don't have the proper disability plate or placard, you could get a ticket anywhere from $280 to $480.

"Taking handicapped parking spaces is more than an inconvenience to someone who needs it. People with disabilities drive around parking lots and often become discouraged and leave because they can't find a parking space," said Jennifer Longdon, chair of the Mayor's Commission on Disability issues.

The " Save Our Space " campaign was created by the Phoenix Mayor's Commission on Disability Issues and the Equal Opportunity Department to remind the public about the importance of saving parking spaces for people with disabilities.

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