Whether or not you remember how long your car has been parked on the streets of downtown Littleton, Don Menzies probably does. He’s the man seen …
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Whether or not you remember how long your car has been parked on
the streets of downtown Littleton, Don Menzies probably does.
He’s the man seen criss-crossing Main Street most days, marking
tires with chalk and occasionally sticking those dreaded yellow
parking tickets in car doors. Menzies is part of the police force,
charged with keeping parkers in line.
“(His) primary mission is to enforce the downtown Littleton
parking areas to ensure the spaces open up regularly for patrons of
those businesses,” said Lt. Mike Broadhead, public information
office with the Littleton Police Department.
With two RTD light rail stops in town that task holds high
importance, Broadhead said, as riders try to leave their cars in
public spots during their all-day commute. Menzies has identified
many of these cars, and he keeps an eye on where they idle.
Despite his role as trader of tickets, most of the time his job
is fairly passive.
In fact, Menzies considers himself a different breed than those
handing out parking tickets in places like Denver.
“They’ll sit there by the parking meter and as soon as it
clicks, they write a ticket,” he said. “I try to give people 10 to
15 minutes leeway.”
That doesn’t mean Menzies is a push-over, or not smart about his
enforcement. He varies the marks he puts on people’s cars and his
daily routes around town, to keep parkers on their toes. When there
is a challenge, he is ready.
“Not many people challenge parking tickets (in court),” he said.
“What they do is challenge me. I’ve had them call me all kinds of
names out their window as the drive by, but that’s OK. I tell them
the sign is there.”
The confrontations rarely lead to fights, aside from the
occasional dispute like the loud discussion that happened outside a
downtown Littleton office Nov. 7, when someone tried to illegally
park in a handicapped zone. In instances like this, it’s a downhill
battle for the ticket-receiver.
“If they get in my face it’s amost guaranteed they’re not
getting out of the ticket,” he said.
More often, Menzies is waving to downtown regulars on their way
down Main Street, offering directions or advice to visitors. On
Nov. 4, a woman had dropped her keys in a storm drain on Curtice
Street while getting out of her car. Recognizing the police logo on
Menzies’ shirt, she asked for his help. He made a call on his
police radio and someone with the city’s maintenance department was
on their way.
Menzies often tries to give downtown patrons a break, passing by
parkers who have just pulled into a spot, instead marking their
tires the next time around. He also tries to identify construction
workers in the area, allowing them to stretch the parking
limitations while they’re on the job.
“I figure they’re working for a living just like I am,” he
And Menzies indeed knows what it’s like to work for a living.
The police job only came to him after 45 years in the computer
“I tried to retire, but I couldn’t stand it,” he said.
At one point, the city cut its budget and Menzies was almost
sent back into retirement, with his then part-time position
But again, the non-working lifestyle didn’t last long. When his
former colleague retired last May he took the job full time.
Outside of the job he coaches a youth basketball team and has
been a commander in the American Legion for many years. He’s also
been married for 50 years, one reason he said he keeps the day
“It keeps me out of trouble,” he said.
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