Civilians to Issue Parking Tickets in Malibu

Until now, the volunteers have been issuing warnings to illegally parked drivers

Car troubles may delay a group of civilian volunteers from issuing parking tickets in Malibu.

Volunteers on Patrol are set to start issuing parking tickets Saturday. But repairs on the single patrol car used by the volunteers could halt this weekend’s plans.

The volunteers have been doling out warnings since the Fourth of July weekend.

Tickets could run a driver between $50 and $70, and the money will be split between Los Angeles County and the city of Malibu.

The volunteers are meant to be the "eyes and ears" of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. Some visitors to the Malibu County Mart on Thursday worry the city is making a premature move.

"How did they come up with that solution? Did they study how many people travel here, how long they stay? Where else can we park? Why don’t they educate the stakeholders," Malibu resident Marcela Oliva said.

The Malibu City Council on June 19 approved parking enforcement training by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department for its volunteers.

The civilian volunteers will concentrate on the city’s high-activity areas, such as the Civic Center and Zuma Beach, allowing deputies to focus on other tasks, according to Malibu’s city manager Jim Thorsen.

They’ll be in a single marked car allotted just for volunteers, and wearing distinct VOP uniforms.

"It’s not just a random guy in a t-shirt and jeans," Thorsen said.

They’re also trained on how to handle hostile situations, particularly with drivers who may not like the idea of receiving a ticket from a volunteer.

"We don’t want any confrontations," Thorsen said. "If they are confronted, the best thing is to walk away and receive assistance from sheriff’s deputies."

Former mayor and current Malibu councilman Lou La Monte said the program is not an attempt to pinch more pennies from residents and tourists.

"These parking spots were taken up by people who would come early in the morning and use them all day long," La Monte said. "That’s what it’s all about. We’re not looking to collect revenue. We don’t want to give the tickets out, we prefer people just move their parking spots."

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