MIAMI BEACH, Fla. - Local 10 found that 767 parking tickets issued in Miami Beach have been dismissed so far this year for police officers, city workers, residents, tourists, and US Postal Service workers. The reasons ranged from "visiting a friend" to "moving."
"They fight the enforcement officers," said Rocio Alba, the assistant director of the Miami Beach Parking Department. "Everyone complains about getting a ticket."
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So far this year, the city has made $1,766,110 from issuing parking tickets.
But not everyone pays. Leonard Freeman, a parking enforcement officer in Coral Gables, received a ticket in the 1800 block of Purdy Avenue at 1:44 a.m. His ticket was dismissed.
"Did this guy get his ticket dismissed because he works at another city?" Local 10's Ross Palombo asked Alba.
"I can't remember," she replied. "I really don't know."
The reason listed on the request for dismissal form: "Courtesy parking enforcement officer city of Coral Gables." The form also included Freeman's identification.
"What reason could this guy have -- at two in the morning -- to avoid paying this parking ticket?" said Palombo.
"I don't know," said Alba.
"I mean, what official business could he have been on at two in the morning?" asked Palombo.
"I don't know," repeated Alba.
Coral Gables then launched an investigation into a violation of city rules. The city disciplined Freeman, then reversed its decision.
Freeman offered no comment. He didn't cite working for Coral Gables as the reason for the parking ticket dismissal, according to his union.
Local 10 found two USPS workers using their own cars had tickets dismissed. A Miami Beach police officer had two tickets dismissed while he was off duty. An on-duty fire department lieutenant also had two tickets dismissed despite not driving a department-issued vehicle at the time.
Alba said city employees weren't receiving a free pass.
"Since I've been here," she said. "[I] can't speak to the past."
Ticket were also dismissed for a Miami Beach IT department employee and a person interning with the city. At least 20 tourists from Austria, Argentina, and Ohio have had tickets dismissed.
"Do you think others who pay tickets would have a problem with this?" asked Palombo.
"I don't see why," replied Alba.
The USPS and Miami Beach Fire Rescue Department didn't discipline their employees who had tickets dismissed. The Miami Beach Police Department is investigating its officer who had two tickets dismissed.
Ticket dismissals are made on a case-by-case basis.
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