They’ll still give you a ticket, but the Philadelphia Parking Authority is training its officers to be nicer and more helpful when they’re on the street. Some of the ticket-getters spewing swear words at PPA workers are actually undercover auditors, looking to see how professional these city employees could be despite verbal abuse. The authority’s director, Vince Fenerty, says the ongoing operation is born from customer complaints “that our parking enforcement officers were not trained well and were ignorant.”
But, Fenerty says, only seven of the more than 150 behavior checks this summer got failing grades.”We have some parking enforcement officers who need some aggressive retraining,” Fenerty admits. “There are some who need some moderate (retraining), and we found they all do need some retraining regarding the actions on how to dispute a ticket.” So, the officers will begin carrying handouts with detailed instructions on how to fight a violation and which disputes don’t require a trip to the Bureau of Administrative Adjudication for a hearing.
The PPA also is spending $24,000 on sensitivity training for all its employees on differences in religion, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, and gender identity. Fenerty says it comes after an incident this summer in which a parking enforcement officer was fired after being accused of gay-bashing.”We’re very willing to admit that we made a mistake. We didn’t do this type of training. And now we’re doing it.”
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