I went on a ride along with AU Parking Services

‘Parking services has nothing against you – just your illegally parked vehicle’

Nearly everyone has been hit by Auburn’s Parking Services with one or two tickets, if not a dozen. They’re probably one of the most disliked departments on campus. After all, they’re the ones who enforce the permit requirement, do all the towing before football games and hand out ticket after ticket.

The Tab sat down with the Manager of Parking Services, Don Andrae, and officers Misty Baker and Leslie Kelly to talk about why they’re so passionate about parking. We even participated in a ride along during Misty and Leslie’s morning patrol over all of the lots.

Walking into the Office of Parking Services, I was immediately surprised. Despite the department’s negative rep, I was warmly greeted by Don, Misty and Leslie and we soon headed out on the morning patrol.

I even got to hold the infamous ticket printer – I was told it never jams. And we wrote ticket after ticket after ticket….

The Tab asked Misty a few questions to better understand her position as a parking officer. She even let me snap a few selfies. And by the end of the ride, I had a new outlook on the officers who are so commonly misunderstood.

ticket writing machine

How long have you been doing this?

Well, I have been with parking services for a year and a half. I started October of last year, 2014.

On average, how many parking tickets do you give out daily?

I usually give around 16-28 tickets a day.

What’s the weirdest thing you’ve seen while patrolling?

A man was walking past a tree and turned around to lick it, then decided it was time to sniff it as well. Also, a professor jumped into the back of a service vehicle while it was being ticketed.

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What’s the oddest vehicle you have ever towed?

Probably the three mobile homes parked illegally in a field during the Iron Bowl football game.

Has someone ever yelled at you for giving them a ticket?

Yes, they call us names all the time. But we never take it to heart.

Are all of the parking services employees friends?

We have a pretty close group of workers.

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What kind of training does it take to be a parking services employee?

Well, all of our training is done online – even the driving tests.

What do you want the Auburn student body to know about Parking Services?

That parking services has nothing against you – just your illegally parked vehicle.

How can students avoid getting a ticket?

Stay in your parking zones. Call parking services if you need accommodations. We are here to help.

service truck

While I was riding along with officers Misty and Leslie, we ticketed 10 cars in less than an hour.

Prior to this experience, as a displeased recipient of more than a few tickets in my parking career, I blamed the officers. I may have even called them a few choice names that don’t bear repeating.

But after this ride, many of the misconceptions I had about Parking Services being were replaced with an understanding of the ticket writers who are just like you and me.

Just don’t get in their way – the ticketing truck is always on patrol.

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