Douglas County Sheriff’s Office to zero in on accessible parking violations in October

The Douglas County Sheriff's Office plans to crack down on handicap parking violations in October.
Published: Sep. 27, 2023 at 10:16 PM CDT
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - It’s never fun when another driver snags the open parking spot you were aiming for.

Most drivers with disabilities know the feeling all too well.

That’s why throughout the month of October, the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office will be cracking down on accessible parking violations.

“You never know. You never know when somebody is going to need that space,” said Sharon Ohmberger with Disability Rights Nebraska.

On social media, the sheriff’s office said their Community Action Team will be focusing extra attention on businesses, apartments, and recreational areas to make sure that those who are parking in ADA-accessible parking spaces have their placards visible on their rear-view mirror.

“This is an important initiative because having access is essential to some people to be able to maintain their independence and make it such that they don’t need to rely on others to get where they need to be,” Ohmberger said.

Ohmberger said when those without disabilities park in accessible parking spots, it hinders those who need them from reaching all the same businesses and services as everyone else.

“When those spaces are used appropriately and by the intended user, we see much more inclusion in our daily lives, in places we work, places we go to school, places we go for entertainment and those are all big parts of people’s lives,” said Ohmberger.

Sheriff Aaron Hanson agrees.

Hanson said those violators impact the quality of life for people with disabilities and that the sheriff’s office routinely receives complaints about accessible parking violations.

“Handicap parking accessibility is vital to so many people in our community,” Hanson said. “Our Community Action Team was designed to address these very types of quality of life issues and we want to be responsive to our community.”

According to the Annual Disability Statistics Compendium, nearly 13% of Nebraska’s population has a disability. In Douglas County alone, there are nearly 60,000 community members with disabilities.

That’s why Ohmberger said no matter where you go, think twice about where you’re parking.

“Be kind, think about what if that were a friend or a family member or a close neighbor who needed that space, and just be kind about it,” Ohmberger said.

The Sheriff’s Office said fines for violation accessible parking can range from $150 to $500.