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Jefferson City stops chalking car tires following court ruling

Jefferson City stops chalking car tires following court ruling

April 25th, 2019 by Nicole Roberts in News

As of noon Wednesday, the Jefferson City Parking Enforcement will no longer use the chalk sticks to mark vehicle tires in metered or non-metered parking spaces. This action came after the decision from the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit stating that chalking vehicle tires violates an individual's Fourth Amendment right to unreasonable search and seizures.

Photo by Julie Smith /News Tribune.

Walking around downtown Jefferson City, you may have noticed colorful chalk marks on parked cars' tires.

As of Wednesday, Jefferson City stopped that method of parking enforcement due to a recent court ruling.

Chalking is a common parking enforcement method to monitor which vehicles have been parked in certain areas for too long.

However, the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals — which encompasses Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee — ruled chalking tires violates the Fourth Amendment, which protects individuals from "unreasonable searches and seizures."

Chalking is a form of trespassing and requires a warrant, Judge Bernice Donald wrote on behalf of the panel.

While the decision does not apply to Missouri, Jefferson City Operations Division Director Britt Smith said, the city's attorneys recommended Jefferson City follow the ruling.

The city will do license plate checks instead, wherein parking enforcers will record license plate numbers in a particular block to help track whether vehicles are parked too long. While this is slightly more time-consuming, Smith said, it won't impact parking enforcement officers' jobs.

"We were always doing license plate checking on a lot of our routes, but now we'll use them on all of our routes," Smith said. "We don't expect that it will cause us to not do our jobs at all. In fact, we're confident we can continue to do our job like we always have."

There are some technologies that could be used down the road to help with parking enforcement, and the city may look into those, Smith said.