Most Angelenos have at least once experienced the jolt of panic when you realized you’ve overslept and forgot to move your car on street sweeping day. Or when you’ve stayed out a little longer than expected and forgot to re-feed a parking meter.
If you’ve been lucky enough to not discover a $70 parking ticket waiting for you on your windshield in recent months, there’s one logical reason that might be: the City of Los Angeles hasn’t been able to hire enough traffic officers to give out citations.
According to the city’s Department of Transportation, there’s currently a 23 percent vacancy rate among parking enforcement officers, which equals about 76 unfilled positions, Crosstown reports.
In 2019, the department had a 13 percent vacancy rate, but the number of unfilled positions has only grown since the COVID pandemic. Early in the lockdown, according to Crosstown, the city started preparing for a potential budget cut by enacting a hiring freeze and urging an early retirement program for municipal workers.
But even with the city reopening and the economy starting to improve, officials say it’s been difficult to find people who are willing to take on the high-stress job of citing parking violators.
The Department of Transportation’s public information director, Colin Sweeney, told Crosstown that the department recently started hiring again since the city lifted its hiring ban in September. Sweeney said they’ve been able to hire six new officers.
The department gave out 150,106 parking tickets during the month of June, then dropped to 135,219 by August, which was far less than pre-pandemic numbers. By comparison, parking enforcement officers gave out 210,399 tickets back in January 2020. The city also froze some parking enforcement during the pandemic shutdown, which played a factor in fewer tickets being doled out.
The department has apparently been giving out more parking tickets as of late, but it doesn’t seem like they will reach pre-pandemic rates. But, hey, we’re not complaining.
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