A Clearwater police officer has been asked by the homeowner’s association to stop parking her marked police SUV in her driveway. If she fails to comply, she will be fined for violating the neighborhood rules.
The officer - whose husband is also in law enforcement - reached out to attorney Dan Parri about the issue.
Parri told ABC News, "The first thought is, it a joke? Like this is the most absurd thing I’ve ever heard of,” adding that the couple was being threatened with hundreds of dollars in fine for violating the HOA rules.
Parri explained that Clearwater officers were allowed to take their vehicles home because it reduced response times and deterred crime in the officers’ neighborhoods.
He said, “Every place that I’ve ever lived, if I had a police cruiser parked next to me I felt safer.”
The HOA managing Cross Pointe in East Lake Woodlands, Holiday Isles Management, maintains that the police cruisers are commercial vehicles. This is despite former Florida Attorney General Charlie Crist’s 2005 opinion determining that police cars were not considered commercial vehicles.
Parri said, "They don’t have that vehicle for the purpose of profit.”
He added, "Maybe there are bad rules sometimes. You don’t enforce those rules, you change those rules!”
He stated that with the tragedies law enforcement officers faced on a daily basis, they did not need additional stressors at home.
"We just hope that they can come home to their family and just live their lives but it’s like now they are being harassed by this association,” Parri said.
Clearwater Police Chief Dan Slaughter released a statement supporting the officers: “The actions of this association to changing the rules is disappointing to say the least. If you are going to change the rules on them, it seems logical to provide a grandfather clause that the association will honor. Not a grandfather clause they changed their mind on honoring. The community has demanded officers be dedicated community servants and respond, day or night, to emergencies.”
Chief Slaughter continued: “This officer and her spouse have served her community admirably. When Irma hit our community, they put their kids on a plane to relatives because they both had to work during the storm recovery.”
Both Slaughter and Parri stated that they planned to talk to local and state lawmakers to demand a law stopping HOAs from prohibiting first responder vehicles from being parked in driveways.