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'Keep Off Grass' Not Applying To DPD

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) - The Dallas Police Department has become very good at enforcing a city ordinance against parking on grass within city limits, but apparently the department is not so good at following it.

The law of the city prohibits parking on grass, and residents have paid big fines.

Estella Rodriguez is one of the people who have received a parking ticket.  The 65-year-old needs money, but has had trouble selling a car parked just off the driveway in front of her Pleasant Grove home.  "I don't have a choice to park it because I don't have more places to park."

But the car is costing Rodriguez money because she says she's been cited twice for parking on an unimproved surface, or in this case, grass.

It's a $55 fine that increased to $105 when she couldn't pay.

"The first ticket I was in the hospital when I get out I have to pay it if not they say it's going to be more," says Rodriguez.

Officers who write tickets like the one Rodriguez received work out of the Southeast Patrol division.  CBS 11 recently found dozens of that division's officers parking their personal vehicles on the grass around the building, which would result in a fine for anyone else.

The department blames the apparent double standard on a parking lot renovation and too many officers. "Until then we will do our best to manage the parking situation and we anticipate some cars having to be occasionally parked on the grounds of the facility," says DPD spokesman Lt. C.L. Williams.

"It's not fair and not right for us because the  way we are it's hard to get money now," says Rodriguez.

Just last weekend, dozens of people reportedly received tickets for parking on grass across from the Kleberg Flea Market in Southeast Dallas.  One exhibitor says as many as 200 people received citations.

"It doesn't make sense to me," says flea market exhibitor Braulio Lugo.

It comes at a time when neighborhood groups have been warning residents about a noticeable increase in grass parking citations issued around White Rock Lake.

The department tells CBS 11 it obtained permission from code enforcement to park on grass but needs funding to expand the lot.

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