In the first week of January, police booted five vehicles, and all the people who came out and saw the boots paid their fines immediately. To date, Dover Police have collected more than $4,000 from seven vehicles that have been booted.


THE ISSUE The Dover Police Department was authorized by City Council to begin using parking boots in the New Year to go after parking ticket scofflaws who compiled $110,000 in unpaid fines for the year 2011.

Dover Police Chief James Hosfelt petitioned Dover City Council for authorization to use boots this past summer. Between June 15, 2009 and June 15, 2011, the city had seen $225,700 in parking fines go unpaid.

WHAT’S HAPPENED Police bought five boots that cost roughly $700 each, Hosfelt said. In the first week of January, police booted five vehicles, and all the people who came out and saw the boots paid their fines immediately, said Lt. Alan Rachko, Special Enforcement Unit commander.

It was an “immediate return on our investment,” he said. To date, Dover Police have collected more than $4,000 from seven vehicles that have been booted. The devices lock to each side of a car tire, making it impossible to drive the car. This is the most stringent penalty for ticket scofflaws since the early days of Hosfelt’s career, when arrest warrants used to be issued for unpaid fines. Police wait until they are absolutely sure that fines are still unpaid before applying the boot, Rachko said.

“We are still actively looking,” he said.

WHAT’S NEXT For those still holding off on paying their fines, parking violators with five or more violations that are at least 30 days past due, or who have accumulated more than $200 in unpaid violations, could find their vehicles booted, police said. In addition, those who don't reconcile their violations within 120 hours of being booted may find their vehicles towed and impounded.

There also will be a $50 charge to have the parking boot removed. Anyone tampering with the parking boot could face an additional $500 fine and possible criminal charges if the device is damaged. Anyone with questions about parking violations should contact the Dover Police Department Records Unit at (302) 736-7104 from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Thursday.