Tuesday, August 13, 2013
Carmel on the Case: Corrections Parking Follow Up
A 7News investigation is sparking action. We revealed corrections employees were parking in disabled spots ... and getting away with it. But things have changed. Investigative reporter Carmel Cafiero has the latest.
WSVN -- It was early morning at Miami-Dade's Pre-trial Detention Center, and every disabled parking space between the jail and the courthouse was taken.
Carmel Cafiero: "Good morning. I see that you're parked in a disabled parking spot but I don't see a permit. Could you explain that to me? Hello?"
Carmel Cafiero: "You just parked in a disabled parking spot but I don't see a permit. Could you explain that to me? Hello?"
Carmel Cafiero: "Want to give me your name and an explanation as to why you would park in a disabled spot?"
Corrections employee: "I'm sorry, was it 45 seconds or was it longer that that?"
Carmel Cafiero: "The law doesn't say 45 seconds."
Corrections officers were parking in those spaces with no permits and no answers to my questions.
Carmel Cafiero: "Carmel Cafiero from Channel 7. I'm wondering how you're able to park in a disabled spot."
Carmel Cafiero: "Excuse me, you don't even have a permit."
What we caught on camera did not go unnoticed by top county officials. From the mayor...
Mayor Carlos Giménez: "It's the wrong message. It's not the right thing. We're - nobody here is above the law, none of our employees are above the law, no matter who you work for."
...to the director of corrections.
Timothy Ryan: "I'm embarrassed. I'm kind of outraged. I'm very concerned about it."
Director Timothy Ryan says those who parked in disabled spaces without a permit will be disciplined based on their employment history.
Timothy Ryan: "And please be assured that we're going to take appropriate action with the folks that are there and try our very best to ensure that all of us live up to the expectations of the community."
And the mayor promises tickets.
Mayor Carlos Giménez: "We're going to tell our police officers, if there are no disabled stickers, etcetera on the cars -- no matter who it is -- go ahead and ticket them."
Carmel Cafiero: "Talk to me for a minute ... disabled."
The day after our report aired, the corrections director sent out a memo saying, illegal use of disabled parking spaces "will not be tolerated" and "any employees engaging in this practice must cease immediately."
Meanwhile, the mayor says he understands the concerns of those who truly need those disabled spaces.
Mayor Carlos Giménez: "Yeah, it's frustrating. But in this case it's worse, because these are law enforcement officers that are breaking the law and they should know better. They do know better."
And it would appear the message has been heard loud and clear. This is what the street looked like before our report at early morning shift change ... and this is now.
Plenty of parking spaces for those with disabilities. Carmel Cafiero, 7News.
IF YOU HAVE A STORY FOR CARMEL TO INVESTIGATE: