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- The gift of education
Public Safety goes digital
In the coming weeks, with the help of software provider Adirondack Solutions, Public Safety will be able to digitally ticket cars, track ticket payments and keep records of repeat offenders.
Public Safety officers will soon carry digital scanners, and can scan the parking decal’s barcode if a student’s car is found to be parked in an incorrect lot. The scanner will print a ticket on the scene for the officer to place on the car’s windshield, but the new system will take further action later.
At the end of the day, the scanners’ data will be downloaded to Public Safety and will send out more information.
“When we download it at the end of the day it sends a copy to the Bursar’s office, it sends a copy to us and it sends a copy to you, all via email,” Chief of Public Safety David Barger said.
According to Barger, the old ticketing system did nothing of this sort and was not reliable. Barger said communication between students, Public Safety and the Bursar was not as strong as it will be under the new digital ticketing process. This allowed some students’ tickets to fall through the cracks and remain unpaid.
“[Students] can’t say that they didn’t know they received a ticket because it’s going to be going through the email,” Barger said. “The Bursar is going to know, so you have to go there and pay the ticket.”
Barger believes the new system will hold students more accountable for their tickets because the ticket won’t be cleared until the Bursar notifies Public Safety that a student paid the fine.
Under the new digital ticketing system, students won’t be able to get by without paying their ticket fines. According to Barger, the punishment for an unpaid fine is up to the Bursar’s discretion, but said it may be similar to having an outstanding tuition balance. These consequences could include not being able to register for classes or having a hold placed on a student’s account.
“To me, it is a way for Public Safety to get students to take [violations] more seriously,” senior Kristen Helinski said. “This is another preparation for life outside of college because if you disobey vehicle rules in society, the same consequences will occur.”
Not only are students held more accountable for their parking violations, but now they need to open their wallets a bit more to pay for their mistakes. Parking fines have been raised across the board, with the most common infraction, parking in the wrong lot, requiring a student to pay $40.
“I get why [Public Safety] would want to make it more strict because with the [old system] nobody really followed it,” junior Alyssa Rigazio said. “But I think the increase in price is a little excessive, especially if someone is running late and parks in the wrong lot just for a little bit. I don’t think they should be fined $40.”
While the fines have been increased, Barger insists the move was made primarily as a deterrent for students who would otherwise park in a faculty lot or one they are not authorized to park in.
“This has nothing to do with revenue,” Barger said. “Even the raising of the fines has nothing to do with revenue. It has to do with trying to gain voluntary compliance.”
The Public Safety chief likened the heightened fines to those imposed on parking in spaces designated for disabled persons. He explained that states make the penalties incredibly strong for parking in these spaces without a sticker, and said Public Safety is following suit in hope that fines will be high enough to deter students from parking in incorrect lots.
“If we make the fine so high, or higher, that’s going to discourage [students] from parking in the wrong place,” Barger said.
The new system has one more key element to complement the new accountability and higher fines. The system also stores each student’s records in a database. Public Safety can then use this database to track repeat offenders and potentially increase penalties to stop the problem.
“If we see we’re issuing [a student] for parking in the wrong place, all the time, maybe it’s time to tow his car,” Barger said.
Public Safety’s new digital ticketing system imposes new and harsher penalties on students, but the chief views these as necessary steps to fix Quinnipiac’s ongoing parking problems.
“It would be my sincere hope that with the raising of the fines and with better tracking of the tickets, we would gain more voluntary compliance,” Barger said.