The Disability Parking Police

You know these people. They leave notes on cars like this one or this one. They approach and confront frauds using those placards to just get better parking.  They’re doing it to help actual disabled people get the parking spot they deserve, if it wasn’t for these frauds.


There was no alien descending upon them to give them this mission.  There was probably no Council of Actually Disabled people gracing them with a secret badge. I’m betting good money that they probably don’t even know a person who’s disabled, never mind one who would ask them to police their parking spots.

See, as I pointed out in my previous post about disabilities, there are way too many people who are just ignorant as fuck about what disabilities are, so when they see someone with a placard leaving their car under their own power (no wheelchair, walker, cane), obviously they are a fraud.  And frauds need to be called out.  No calling the police or the manager of the store to report them or anything useful, just write a nasty little note and leave it on their car to discover.  Because writing nasty notes has always worked to make a fraud go “oh dear, I’ve been found out.  Time to return this placard.”

Like welfare and SSI, the rate of fakers taking advantage of disabled parking is low.  Low low.  Very low.  Look it the fuck up if you don’t believe me. So the likelihood of the Parking Spot Police actually catching a fraud is next to fucking impossible.  All they’re doing is spoiling a person’s day who is probably having it hard enough.  All they’re doing is trying to make themselves feel better, puff themselves up at the expense of someone who has a disability they can’t see.

All they’re doing is showing off their ignorance in the guise of trying to help “real disabled people”.

While never knowing what is going on with the so-called fraud.

People have these strange expectations of the disabled, that we much perform our disability for them to prove it.  They have to see us struggle, they have to see that walker, that wheelchair, that child who can’t hold their head up and drools a little.  They need to see it so they can feel sorry for us, feel better than us.  “But the grace of God go I” and all that shit.  So when they see someone who doesn’t “look disabled”, it angers them.  That person looks fine.  That person looks like a “normal” person. Fraud! Faker! Time to write a note and wait until they come out and demand proof (like who the fuck are you?). How can you feel sorry and superior to this person if you can’t see their brokeness?

Are you their doctor? Were you the person who signed off on allowing them that placard? No? Then, if you must patrol the disabled parking spaces, learn about invisible disabilities like EDS and fibro and Crohn’s and RA and a host of others.  Learn the difference between good days and bad days. Stop demanding that people perform their disability for your viewing pleasure.  Learn some fucking empathy.

I’ll be taking your badge, pen, and scrap paper now.  You’re off the force.

The Disability Parking Police
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23 thoughts on “The Disability Parking Police

  1. 1

    I think it’s a complicated issue. For instance, placard fraud is widespread in urban areas in which the placard entitles you to park at a metered space for free. A few years ago, NASCAR organizers in Chicago, responding to complaints from disabled fans, “proofed” cars with placards at an event. There were *many* cars whose drivers were caught and fined using placards that weren’t assigned to anyone actually in the vehicle.

    1. 1.1

      Cough up some proof of that widespread fraud in urban areas, then come back. One instance does not a widespread issue make, and if it were, it still doesn’t make complete strangers harassing people with invisible disabilities okay.

      Also, if people using placards with no one disabled in their cars, your average joe at the grocery store wouldn’t be able to tell anyway, or they’d be too lazy to proof that car – that’s the point.

      1. And while you’re finding that proof, let me point out that your anecdote is an example of what is supposed to happen. Disabled people complained, the police were called to verify.

        This wasn’t some able-bodied jackass playing 30 second doctor, declaring a person Not Disabled and then leaving a note, which is what this entire blog post is about.

        Try reading for comprehension first before you call yourself commenting here, please.

        1. Ya know, f you bothered reading past the titles of your links, you’d see the numbers don’t match your ‘widespread’ claim. First link: 500 statewide citations in CA in 2013 out of 5 million current issued placards. Not exactly a widespread endemic, and I bet if you look into other states, the ratio is similar. Are their asshole who abuse or steal placards to get the best parking? YES. It is such an issue that the public must play 30 second doctor to enforce these laws (i.e. the point of this post)? NO, NO, a thousand times NO. All of the placard fraud in the world does not justify attacking a stranger on the slight chance they might be faking it.

          These articles show the RIGHT way to handle the problem of people using placards under false pretenses: reporting to the police, NOT writing a shitty note on someone’s car whose medical history you know nothing about.

          Do you get it now?

    2. 1.2

      I don’t carry proof of my disability, I don’t *have* proof, without digging up medical records. My parking permit is assigned to me. If they want to call the cops to come compare the numbers, they could, but I shouldn’t have to wait around for that. What would I do if “proofed”?

      1. I think in this case, “proof” is just “prove someone in the car is assigned the placard”. Which is all they can actually prove, other than how much of our time they can fucking waste.

  2. 2

    I agree with you that not all disabilities are visible so we shouldn’t judge people based on their physical appearances. BUT if someone parks in a disabled spot without a blue badge then it’s more likely that they don’t have a disability. If they display a blue badge then they have every right to park there. If not then they are risking the wrath of the disabled parking police.

    1. 2.1

      See, I didn’t mention the whole “not having a placard at all” bit because that isn’t the point at all. No one who isn’t disabled and using the spot is posting pictures of people calling them out, you see.

      1. Your wrong not to mention it. Many who dont even a card use a disabled parking where im from and never do they ever get a fine. So it is also a growing problem in some places.

        1. Umm, you want to talk about people who park in disabled spaces without a placard at all? You are more than welcome to start your own blog and talk about it there.

          Also, are you trying to tell me what I should be writing here in my own space? Because you can get the entire fuck out of here with that shit. I’ll even show you the door. Toodles!

    1. 3.1

      Could you post a link here? I’d love for others to read it. Enough of our voices combined and maybe, just maybe, the able-bodied will start listening.

  3. 4

    Thank you so much!! I actually had a woman call the police on me, then watched her face in disbelief as I had to use my cane to stand up out of my car… But here’s the thing, that just happened to be a day I needed to use it. With my EDS, that’s not always the case.. I still get the looks, cane or no cane, almost every time I pull into the reserved space… Yes, I know I drive an “old lady car,” that I look younger than the 31 years old than I am, and that I don’t “look disabled especially through my car Window…
    But I have a permanent handicapped tag… Permanent! They don’t just hand those out like candy! I had to get proof from multiple doctors, and a current letter of recommendation bc I couldn’t simply transfer my tags when I moved here from another state. So who are you, a civilian, to make a decision at face value?! How dare you judge me on a day that it took every ounce of energy to get a shower this morning, just to make sure I got my nephew a birthday present that he’s been waiting for… How dare you assume I have the ability to walk even one more step from that spot after I’m done walking around the store, trying to be a good Aunt.
    Don’t they realize how mortified I already am that I need to use it in the first place? That my doctor begged me for almost ab year to get one before I actually swallowed enough pride to get one….. I’m not proud of it, and I shouldn’t need my cane as proof!

  4. 5

    I used to work for a lady who had fibro, RA, and degenerative spinal disc. We’d use my car and her placard to do her grocery shopping. Most days she could walk without a cane, but on bad days she would walk to the courtesy scooters and use those. I was always worried that I would end up getting lectured/ticketed by a cop for fraudulent use, because it was *my* car, not hers.

    1. 5.2

      The reason we have the disabled hanger card is for use when folks gift us with transportation. You will never get a ticket when driving a disabled person on errands and using their tag. You are protected by law. The laws state that the disabled person is in the car, not driving it.

      In Washington state, I have a card to carry in my wallet that identifies me as the disabled individual. I slip my hanger card in my purse so that I do not have to wait in pain at the curb while the car is being fetched from the other end of the parking lot.

      Thank you for your gift of respect and courtesy in helping your friend shop. It can be a wretched burden to wait for a cab or a pain free day to be safe to drive to the store. Folks do not realize that pain patience keep them safe by not getting behind the wheel while on their meds. Your gift of grace and time is a significant aid to the quality of your friend’s life.

  5. 6

    I have Meniere’s, ruptured discs, and a few herniated discs. I can’t even get a disability placard in California. There have been days where I have had to pull over in parking lots, take Meclizine and go to sleep. The police, called by retail management from time to time, have been amazingly understanding.

    1. 6.1

      Another Meniere’s patient here, and I’m shocked you can’t get a DP in Cali. Wow. Esp. with the disc thing on top. I drive my mom’s car because she stopped driving and I can use a car, and the DP is hers (as well as the license plate w/ the DP marker). I pay for the gas, my dad covers service and repairs. It’s been a real blessing on the days where walking is difficult (ulcerative colitis cramps, back arthritis, bursitis in one hip) and I use the electric carts in supermarkets all the time now. I live in a small-to-medium-sized town and have been using Mom’s car for over a year now, and I have yet to suffer the Parking Police attack (yeah, that’s what it is, I said it!) I wish everyone who needs the DP was able to get one. Sending spoons to all who need them, as I have extra these days (lucky me). Virtual hugs to y’all as well, if you want them.

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