Parking enforcer

Posted 11/11/08

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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Parking enforcer


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 said.

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 business.

“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 eliminated.

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 job.

“It keeps me out of trouble,” he said.


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