Florida Police Chief Tickets Himself for Parking Violation

By Ephrat Livni, Esq. on May 18, 2016 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

If you could ticket yourself, would you? The Groveland, Florida Police Chief did just that this week, issuing himself a ticket and paying a $45 fine for parking his car on the sidewalk in violation of local laws.

Melvin Tennyson took responsibility for his failure and told reporters, "I paid my fine like anyone else would." But one local citizen disputes this, according to the Huffington Post, saying he caught the chief and shamed him into paying by posting pictures of his parking violation online.

Citizen Patrol

Groveland local David Bires was driving by City Hall when he spotted the police chief's SUV parked on the sidewalk. He snapped some pictures and posted them on Facebook, accompanied by this statement, "Groveland police department is handing out tickets to people who park their vehicles in their own driveway if they block the sidewalk. But when the chief of police block sidewalks it's OK?"

Chief Tennyson, no doubt accustomed to collecting evidence for cases, responded to the Facebook post with one of his own, showing the ticket he wrote and paid, as well as screen grabs from the accusatory post that Bires wrote. The chief also issued a statement explaining that he did not intend to violate a local ordinance.

Mea Culpa

The chief said he thought he parked far enough off of the sidewalk so as not to block the walkway along City Hall. But a city road supervisor pointed out his parking violation to him, and the chief "agreed with the verdict." Tennyson emphasized the fact that he did not wait to be shamed on social media before issuing himself a ticket.

According to the chief, when his error was pointed out to him, he immediately agreed and took responsibility, issuing himself a ticket, and paying the $45 fine. Tennyson told reporters, "I can't realistically and in good conscience hold anybody, a citizen or especially my own workforce, accountable if I don't hold myself accountable. It starts at the top."

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