City firefighters will now be able to write tickets for parking violations, under a new policy which was implemented last week.

City firefighters will now be able to write tickets for parking violations, under a new policy which was implemented last week.
Mayor Justin Taylor stated that the firefighters are authorized to write only yellow tickets (parking) for half a dozen specific violations. He said firefighters are "absolutely not allowed to write the red tickets for parking meter violations."
Furthermore, he noted that they will not be out looking for vehicles to be ticketed.
"This is not going to be a proactive patrolling initiative," he insisted. "They're not being ordered to do this, they're being given the authority to do this when the situation calls for it."
Taylor said these tickets will be issued while firefighters are out performing their regular duties, such as when they're en route to an emergency or on their way back. Whereas, in the past, they would have to contact the Lackawanna County Communications Center to have a police officer dispatched whenever they found a vehicle, say, parked in a fire zone, he noted that they can now handle that themselves.
"Fire officials have been asking us for this authority for quite a few years, since there are various types of situations when it makes sense for them to have it," he offered, "the most problematic obviously being when they're on their way to a call."
"For instance, when a vehicle is parked too close to an intersection, the firefighters have to back the truck up and maneuver around that vehicle, which in turn delays their response time to the call," he explained. "Now, when they're on their way back from that call, they can just stop and ticket the vehicle before returning to their station."
Fire Chief Tom Brennan agreed, calling this newly-delegated power "an extra tool we have to work with" as opposed to an edict of some kind.
"We're certainly not going to be patrolling the streets in the fire trucks looking for parking violations," he related. "Diesel fuel is rather expensive and our vehicles tend to use a lot of it."
Taylor complained that all too often people will pull into fire lanes, handicapped parking spaces or other prohibited spots simply because they don't see a police officer in the area. But he said that doesn't mean they should be allowed to do so.
"The law is the law," he argued "so it shouldn't matter who sees the violation, whether it's a police officer, a firefighter, a council member, myself as the mayor, or one of the DPW guys out driving the plow — we should always be able to enforce the law."
"Logistically as well," he added, "every city employee takes an oath which involves swearing to uphold the Constitution of the United States and the Commonwealth, but also the laws and ordinances of the city."
Firefighters will be writing tickets for the following parking violations:
•parking within 15 feet of a fire hydrant;
•parking in a fire zone/lane;
•parking in a handicapped space without a placard/plate;
•parking within 25 feet of an intersection;
•parking in the wrong direction on a street;
•parking in such a way as to be obstructing traffic.