Xenia Capt. Chris Stutes said earlier this year city leaders decided to start using “E-chalk,” a handheld monitor that enables an officer to photograph a tire and use the air valve stem position to determine if a vehicle has been parked too long at a spot.
Stutes said the system was ordered about three weeks ago, and it will be more efficient than physically marking a tire. He said they are also looking at what other communities are doing, such as marking the pavement beside a vehicle.
“By far the most complaints I receive are about parking,” Stutes said. “(Parking enforcement) is what keeps traffic flowing downtown and enables others to park.”
Xenia Law Director Donnette Fisher said the Michigan case is not over and there may be exceptions that would allow governments to continue chalking tires.
“The court decided that chalking a tire is an illegal search. Are there any exceptions to the warrant that would allow that? We don’t know that yet,” Fisher said.
In some cases involving public safety, there are exceptions to the Fourth Amendment, such as when a disabled vehicle that’s causing a traffic problem is towed away, Fisher said.
STAY CONNECTED: Greene County News on Facebook
People who work in downtown Xenia find ways to avoid parking citations, such as wiping off the chalk mark or rolling their vehicle forward or backward a few inches.
Tim Sontag, owner of Xenia Shoe and Leather Repair on East Main Street, said the appellate court’s ruling “seemed like a stretch” and he wonders if it will stick.
“I don’t know what they would do to replace that exactly. I don’t like meters because customers don’t like meters. They just feel like it’s not welcoming,” Sontag said. “Even though some people will stay over their three-hour limit, most people don’t.”
READ MORE ARTICLES BY THIS REPORTER