Article Courtesy of ABC
Action News WFTS Tampa Bay
By Heather Leigh
Published August 29, 2019
LAKE -- A Clearwater police officer is facing an ultimatum in her East Lake
neighborhood: Stop parking her marked police cruiser in her driveway, or pay
hundreds of dollars in violation costs.
"The first thought is,
it a joke? Like this is the most absurd thing I’ve ever
heard of,” said Dan Parri, a family friend speaking on
behalf of the officer and her husband who is also in law
Parri says officers take home their marked cruisers to speed
up response times. He says it also deters crime.
“Every place that I’ve ever lived, if I had a police cruiser
parked next to me I felt safer,” he said.
State law says HOA’s can prohibit commercial vehicles from
parking in driveways but an opinion issued in 2005, by then
State Attorney Charlie Crist , a law enforcement vehicle is
not considered commercial.
"They don’t have that vehicle for the purpose of profit,”
Holiday Isles Management, the HOA managing Cross Pointe in East Lake Woodlands
agrees, but says her cruiser is issued by a “government agency” and therefore
violates HOA rules.
East Lake Woodlands agrees, but says her cruiser is issued by a “government
agency” and therefore violates HOA rules.
The Clearwater Police Chief, Dan Slaughter, has come to his officers defense
sending a statement late Tuesday: "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
"Maybe there are bad rules sometimes,” said Parri. “You don’t enforce those
rules, you change those rules!”
Parri says the family deals with tragedy every day within out community and says
what’s happening to them isn’t right.
"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,” he said.
Chief Slaughter added in his statement, "The community has demanded officers be
dedicated community servants and respond, day or night, to emergencies. 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.”
They HOA told us no comment, but passed our request on to its attorney.
Both Slaughter and Parri plan to talk with local and state leaders to demand
change so HOA’s can’t go after first responder vehicles in driveways.