Students wear out warnings

By Gus Bode

Todd Sigler said he believes in second chances – 5,261 of them.

Sigler, director of SIUC Police, said there has been a concerted effort to educate students about proper parking spots by issuing 2,000 more warnings than last year.

Officers’ increased efforts have not been the only cause of the amount of warnings, Sigler said. Many students are repeat offenders who take advantage of the warning period. Sigler said he is confident the department had not issued warnings to 5,261 different vehicles.

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“If people are simply abusing the warnings, then it’s not achieving what we want,” Sigler said. “Our educational warning period is pretty fair, so we need to find ways to keep it available for students who do need it.”

Sigler said one officer wrote a warning to a student who said he would probably park there again while warnings were being issued.

One student said he would have taken advantage of the warning period.

Mike Richter, a senior from Elgin studying sociology, said it took him a while to figure out where to park when he transferred to SIUC last year. Richter said he found the legal parking spaces after his warnings, but kept his eyes open for a better spot.

“If I could have found a spot, I would definitely not have minded getting another warning,” Richter said.

Sigler said the university police would discuss ways to prevent repeat offenders from abusing the warning system.

While police find ways to solve their problem, Sigler said the parking division continues to discuss ways to solve problems with the decal purchasing process.

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The parking division introduced an online system for students to fill out their applications for decals this year. Sigler said he is optimistic about the system, but sees room for improvement.

“We had a pretty busy Monday and Tuesday and the lines may have moved a little quicker, but not much,” Sigler said. “This is the first time we’re doing something like this, but we’re not content with it yet.”

The parking division has sold 10,996 decals since July – 13 more than this time last year. The rush last week accounted for 1,644 of the decals sold.

Amanda Averbeck said because there is so much demand for decals, she had to wait just as long as last year.

Averbeck, a senior from Marissa studying journalism, said she waited 25 minutes to get her decal last week. While waiting in line she said she spoke with another student about ways the parking division could improve the process.

She said the parking division could help by letting students mail in checks and a photocopy of their student identification card in exchange for their decals.

Until the parking division changes its procedures, she said, waiting in long lines would be inevitable.

“They still had to look up my information when I went to get my decal,” Averbeck said. “It ended up being the same amount of waiting as last year.”

Jeff Engelhardt can be reached at 536-3311 ext. 268 or [email protected]

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