KERRVILLE, Texas – Kerrville police are cracking down on drivers who park illegally in handicap spots.
Not everyone needs one.
"I laughed and asked my doctor if he'd give me one and he said, ‘You don't need it. Walk. It's good for you,’" elderly driver Martha Foy says.
But everyone wants convenient parking – driving some people to bend the rules.
"We're not out here to write a bunch of tickets,” Sgt. Mary Krebs with Kerrville Police says. “We're out here to educate."
She introduced News 4 WOAI to Bill Cafferty, one of a dozen volunteers who graduated from the department’s Citizen Police Academy.
"It's a matter of staying involved,” Cafferty says. “I'm not one wanting to go to a rocking chair when I retire."
Instead, the military veteran and fellow volunteers are patrolling busy parking lots.
"No handicap tag, no handicap placard,” Cafferty says about a car in a mall parking lot.
It's a problem everywhere, but in Kerr County one in four people are seniors. That's not even counting the disabled population, so it’s crucial the designated spots remain available.
"This car does not have a disability parking plate nor does it have a placard,” Cafferty says about another car.
He writes the driver a warning and sticks it on the windshield.
"What the violation actually was,” Cafferty says. “We'll put their license number on here."
Just down the way, he finds a car with an expired handicapped tag. It’s a few months out of date so another driver gets a warning.
Cafferty says the program’s already gotten high praise.
"’Good on you!’ and ‘I'm glad you're doing it,’” Cafferty says he hears from people with disabilities. “That's the satisfaction we get when you're making a difference."
Right now, the warnings really are just warnings, but come January 1, drivers breaking the rules will face tickets worth more than $260.
"That's a pretty hefty fine,” Hoy says. “That will encourage people."