BERKELEY (KCBS) – Authorities announced Friday that parking enforcement officers in Berkeley will soon join police in citing drivers who fraudulently use disabled placards to park in handicap spaces.

Parking enforcement officers are in a position to easily spot potential abuse of a placard, but until a recent change in state law they were not authorized to issue citations for placard abuse.

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The stepped up enforcement begins in early September with the blessing of Berkeley City Council, said Police Chief Michael Meehan.

KCBS’ Margie Shafer Reports:

“We have a significant and sizeable disabled community, and so one of the goals also is to ensure that they have enough adequate and reasonable parking places available to them,” Meehan said.

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The use of another person’s placards or plates without that person present, or the use of an expired placard, can result in fines of up to $1,000.

Kirsten Feast wears a back brace and appreciates parking that minimizes the amount of walking she has to do. She welcomes changes in Berkeley and several other communities to discourage blue placard scofflaws.

“I think it’s a good idea,” she said, adding that on many days a close parking spot “definitely does make a difference.”

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