Tammy Mutasa, NBC 5 Garland Reporter
The Garland Police Department will start using volunteers to catch people who illegally park in handicapped parking spots across the city.
Garland police are training volunteers to issue citations for cars illegally parked in handicapped parking spaces.
"It frees up the time for the officers on the streets so they can handle calls that are higher priority as opposed to going around looking for parking violations," Lt. Ben St. Clair said.
Starting Friday, 12 volunteers will begin to ticket vehicles parked in spots set aside for people with disabilities but do not have the proper placards or license plates.
"It's important," volunteer Lou Harding said. "They need that help, and that's what they deserve, and that's what the law says."
Clarence Hale said it is harder for him to get around because the reserved parking is often taken by people without placards or license plates.
"If you're not handicap, you shouldn't be using the handicap parking period -- at all," he said. "And it really makes you mad, and it makes you upset."
A disabled parking violation costs first-time offenders between $500 and $750.
"I wish that they would crack down, and I hope they do," Hale said. "I hope they pass out their fair share of tickets for those people who don't have it."
The volunteers are not sworn officers but completed state training. Volunteers had to go through the Garland Citizens Police Academy and finish state and departmental requirements.