Parking enforcement is evolving. Back in the day, a parking enforcement officer (PEO) was sent into the field with a ticket book, a chalking stick, and a simple review of the municipal codes in order to monitor the enforcement areas.
With the ongoing development of parking technology, escalating parking rates and increased penalty values, you must ensure that your PEOs are properly equipped not only to manage their field duties, but also to understand the technology capabilities and, most important, have the capacity to handle their interactions with the general public.
At PIE 2016, this presentation will focus on customer service and technology for parking enforcement. We cannot forget that oftentimes, a PEO may be the only contact that a parking patron has with your agency. PEOs are a direct representation of your agency, and they should become customer service ambassadors for your community. Their enforcement duties not only ensure parking availability and vehicle turnover, but also can allow an outlet for public relations and addressing community aesthetics and safety hazards.
A pro-active training program can change the way that your enforcement services are managed internally, and can significantly improve public perception of your enforcement model. While technology is important, an agency cannot ignore the importance of initial and ongoing training and education for your enforcement staff. An understanding of your municipal ordinances, vehicle codes and street maps is important; however, you need to ensure that your agency’s “enforcement ethos” is defined and that each of your PEOs is well-informed and understands the operating guidelines.
Enforcement training should incorporate all aspects of a PEO’s job — including, but not limited to, safety awareness, communication skills, conflict avoidance, resolution management and the use of discretion.
Another important aspect of training is the hardware/software technology solutions being utilized by your agency. You need to ensure that a PEO understands the capacity and limitations of the technology solution and receives the proper hands-on training to properly utilize the tools and service features.
The importance of personnel management and ongoing training should not be minimized, and every agency should be committed to not only improve services levels, but also provide an ongoing commitment to develop and grow your PEO staff.
Numerous agencies have successfully rebranded their enforcement program to a parking ambassador (PA) model. In the PIE presentation, we will discuss the effectiveness of this customer service approach, along with the public relations impacts and the integrated technology solutions that have improved overall enforcement productivity.