by Katy Kappele
In addition to writing you a ticket, Whatcom Community College parking monitors, hired from the Criminal Justice Program students, will help if your car needs a jump or if you need a tire changed, and can also give directions.
Ticketable offences include parking in a construction zone, fire lane (red curb), or other no-parking areas, in WCC van parking spaces, in the roadway, in a delivery area or service driveway, in a disability spot without properly displayed permit, in visitor parking if you are a WCC student, faculty or staff, and parking in two spaces or parking on or outside the lines.
Warnings are sometimes issued. The fine is $15 for the first offence and $30 for the second, and the second offence may be a different offence from the first. Money from tickets goes to parking lot and roadway upkeep.
Whatcom’s parking monitors are serious about their jobs, and many tickets are given per quarter.
Dzmitry Ryzhkou, 20, says that they are able to find the owner of a car by running the plates. “If the car belongs to your parents we look by last name,” he said. “We try to match it up.” Colleen Hansen can tie consequences of not paying parking tickets to a student’s records by a process of elimination based on last name. Ryzhkou said that if you don’t want tickets, “just don’t break the rules.”
Peter Tran, 21, a former Whatcom student and parking monitor, said he’s seen some unusual things in the parking lots, such as people making out in their cars (and more), and some car prowls. Because the parking monitors have no law enforcement authority, their best recourse is to call the Bellingham police.
Brian Keeley, Whatcom’s facilities director, says that in the three years the program has run, parking monitors have “significantly helped with the car prowl issue.”