©Felix Dartmouth, 1998
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Campus Parking Ticket Roundup
Jim Cranston – Assistant Chief of Police
Donna Cranston – his wife
Ron Johnson – Chief of Police
Regina Strong – Police Sergeant
Billy Marks – Rookie Officer
The Board of Regents Meeting
I had just joined the State Teacher’s College police force as the Assistant Chief of Police four months before. I was at a Board of Regents meeting, where I was standing in for my boss, when the topic of campus parking came up. At State Teacher’s we had a lot of the problems that any college town has, bounced checks, drugs, a few firearms violations, burglaries, but parking violations were the problem that took up most of the time of the campus police.
Many of the students lived in small nearby towns, and lived off-campus and drove to class, and the parking lots for students were several blocks away from the class buildings. We had 7 officers whose job it was to write parking tickets, and they were issuing approximately 30 tickets each per day. There were over $2,000,000 in outstanding parking tickets for current and former students.
I was on the hot seat. Even though I had only been there four months, it was clear that the Board wanted this problem addressed in an aggressive manner. I was at a conference table with 9 board members and several support persons and we had come to my place on the agenda. One of the board members addressed me.
“Officer Jim Cranston,” he said, “you know that this parking situation has gotten completely out of hand. Our campus is getting a bad reputation because there is no place to park, and many of the students seem to be violating the parking regulations with impunity.”
I knew that I had to appear concerned, but I didn’t want to seem like a “cowboy” on my first appearance before the Board of Regents. “I have been reviewing the problem, and there sure is a lot of money tied up in those tickets. I understand that we are holding student’s transcripts if they have outstanding traffic tickets.”
“That’s the reason that you are here, Officer,” a gray-haired woman in a smart dark suit said. “We need some fresh ideas on this matter. Until a student graduates, or requests a transcript, there is just not a whole lot of leverage to get them to pay. I think that we need to implement stronger measures.”
I was a bit uneasy with this. Here we were at a teacher’s college in Louisiana. 80% of the students were young women from small towns who were either going into teaching, arts or business professions. Since I had come here from New Orleans, I had worked with a
pretty rough crowd, and I knew there was a big difference between the criminals in NOLA and a parking ticket violator here! I wondered what kind of “stronger measures” the Board had in mind.
I spoke carefully. “Of course, the department is here to follow the guidelines of the Board with respect to the priority that should be given this matter. What immediately comes to mind to me is that we could implement a range of sanctions, from barring scofflaws from class all the way to actually issuing warrants for their arrest.”
“Now I think you’re getting our drift, Officer,” said the man who had
spoken first. “What we are considering here is proposing to the city council that any person, student or not, including faculty members, who has greater than three unpaid traffic tickets to be guilty of a misdemeanor, and therefore subject to arrest. This will give our campus police the authority to arrest and force payment of this horrendous number of outstanding tickets. Now, you need to tell us what you need to make it happen if we give you the law you need to make the arrests.”
“I think I am beginning to understand your priorities here,” I said. “I
will go back and discuss this with the Chief of Police and we will be back with out recommendations. We will need to upgrade several aspects of our department, including the holding facilities, the women police officers, a paddy wagon, and additional restraints
required for the increased volume of prisoners.”
The Board seemed to all relax at once. I think that this is what they wanted to hear! I went a step further. “Also, we will consider instituting arrest procedures on weekends and during class changes in the morning to assure that the violators are taken into custody. I believe that all prisoners should be restrained in handcuffs, and
leg-irons, with possible additional restraints if necessary.”
A woman on the board spoke up. “Now, I think we should be concerned that some of these young women might find it a bit traumatic to be handcuffed and ironed in front of their friends and hustled off to jail. Isn’t this a bit drastic?”
“Now, Martha, you know how bad this parking problem has become. These young women need to learn responsibility, and a few days in irons behind bars is just the thing to teach them that they can’t be scofflaws,” said the eldest man on the Board.
Turning to me, he said, “I want a detailed report at our next meeting and an action plan. Also, I want a demonstration of your method of restraint of female prisoners. I think we do need to address Martha’s concerns.”
“Certainly, Sir,” I assured him. “In general we consider the safety of a
prisoner to be related to the level of restraints into which she is confined. But we will have more details on this at the next meeting.”
“Then, Officer, you may be excused as we move on to other business, and we thank you for your good work.”
Dinner That Night
My wife Donna is a real dreamboat. Her rich black hair falls in curls around her shoulders, she stands a full five foot seven. In her high-heel pumps (which she almost always wears) she is almost as tall as I am. We have been married over two years, and believe me, the honeymoon is not over!
Tonight, she had fixed a romantic Italian dinner, complete with candles, red wine, lasagna, and garlic bread. She was wearing an almost formal outfit. It was a “little black dress”, pearls, dark hose, and her highest black pump heels. When I first saw her, I was breathless with anticipation. I knew that she had plans for the evening that went way past dinner!
As we talked about our days (she was a doctoral candidate in the English Department), I mentioned the board meeting at the college, and that I would have to be hiring new staff just to keep up with all the new arrests that the new policy and law would entail.
Donna seemed very interested in the whole development.
“So, you are going to arrest these students in their classrooms?” she
“Well, that will be the first place we’ll look for them. You know, we have all their class schedules.”
“What if they won’t come with you?”
“Well, Donna,” I smiled. “When you arrest someone, they usually
don’t want to come with you. They are required to come, though. It’s the law.”
“Jim, how humiliating for them! So, they just follow you out to the squad car?”
“Well, yes, we have to take it kind of slow because of their leg-irons.”
“Yes,” I replied, “and handcuffs, behind their backs.”
“You know, I would just fall over dead with embarrassment if I were arrested at school and taken away in handcuffs and leg irons. You know, some of these sorority girls aren’t going to like that!”
“I know,” I said. “And some of them are the worst offenders.” I had
been told that the girls who are required to dress up every day and wear heels do so because they like to avoid the two-block walk, and they have accumulated the greatest number of tickets as a group.
“You know,” she said. “You’d never see me caught in a situation
where I was arrested in front of all my friends, chained, and taken to jail!”
“I know I’d never see you in handcuffs,” I said, “but not from lack
She looked up at me and smiled a knowing smile.
A few weeks ago, we were lazing around on a Friday night, and I had left my handcuffs and leg-irons out on the bedside table. She was tickling me, and I joked that I was going to put her in my handcuffs.
“No way!” she had said. “How do these things work?” I showed here
and within minutes, I was securely handcuffed, ironed, and double-locked. Naturally, my tickling continued, longer than normal, but when it came time for the love-making that I expected, I was informed that I would remain in chains for the remainder of the night, and not be allowed to come. With her luscious mouth, she drove me to a fever pitch, but then she suddenly stopped. That was it for the night, but my ‘cuffs and irons were to stay on until the next morning. The next day, she told me that if I even hinted at putting her in handcuffs again, I would again spend the night bound, but this time it might not be so comfortable! That sounded pretty scary, because trying to sleep in handcuffs and leg-irons with a massive case of blue balls is not my idea of a walk in the park.
“You can count on that!” she said, emphatically.
Just a few bites, and sips of wine later, we were in each other’s arms, kissing passionately. As we had so many nights before, we made love and fell asleep, waking up the next morning in bliss.
Executive Planning Committee
Regina Strong was the first to meet me in the meeting room. She was always a real go-getter, though not in an annoying way. She was a criminology major from the big State school, and had joined the force about a month before I did. I think that she was a bit
jealous of my coming in over her as Assistant Chief, but after a month or so, we were getting along just fine. She really was blessed in the looks department. She had porcelain skin, with ruby red lips. She wore her thick black hair in shiny curls about her shoulders.
The Chief lumbered in. He had been there over 20 years, and I could tell he was just a bit more than impatient with the Board of Regents by his comments.
“I just had an earful about this parking ticket situation!” he exclaimed as he plopped down in his chair. “They are really serious this time. I think that they want us to clap every girl in this school in cuffs and throw her in jail until her fines are paid.”
“I’ll bet that if we just stepped up the arrests, that would really help.
It’s possible that if more of the students were arrested, the others would come in to pay their fines voluntarily,” speculated Regina.
I posed a question. “Given the present level of staffing, how many arrests could we handle now? What do you think, Chief.”
“I think about 5 per day, without reducing the patrols, but you have to remember that most of the students arrested will be women, so they’ll need special facilities, and we need a female officer present when she is escorted.”
“I think that 5 is a good number,” agreed Regina. “That is, if they paid
up and got out of jail. Now, if they weren’t able to pay, we might have to have the bussed out to the county jail.”
“I think that it would be better to have a stream of arrests, like 5 arrests per day rather than a big Dragnet. We just wouldn’t be able to handle 50 to 100 women prisoners.”
“You’re right on that,” agreed the Chief. “We don’t have the
space of the people.”
“We would need at least 2 more bail & ticket clerks,” said Regina,
“and we could hire two more female officers to make the arrests.”
“Jim,” said the Chief. “I’d like you to head this up. I’ll keep the rest of the department running. Regina, I need you on this, too, reporting to
Jim. I want you to make sure the operation is clean and that none of the students have any cause for complaint. And, I want a female officer in the presence of any restrained female prisoner, unless they are locked into a cell.”
“You got it chief,” Regina, acknowledged. “Now, how should these
prisoners be restrained? The usual way, with handcuffs behind their backs, and leg-irons?”
“What do you think, Jim, you know that these are young women?” asked the Chief.
“I think that restraints will make a big impression on the prisoners, and their friends who see them arrested.”
“Maybe we would go with handcuffs, and leg-irons,” said Regina. “You know, I read in police catalog about the use of gags on prisoners. Supposedly, it makes the prisoner much less inclined to get rowdy. I ordered a sample ball-gag, do you guys want to see it?”
“Sure,” said the Chief.
Regina rose from her chair to get the gag. She wore a tight dress skirt, and a wide black belt cinching her waist, and her dress patent heels. They were mainly for official occasions, but she always wore them around the office, with her dark hose.
She returned in a flash with a FEDEX box. Out of it she pulled what appeared to be a black rubber ball which has a leather strap running though the middle of it.
“Here it is,” she said, plopping it onto the table. It bounced a bit, then
came to rest.
“Interesting,” I said, picking it up to examine it.
“Aren’t you going to model it for us?” asked the Chief, expectantly.
“Sure,” she laughed. She pulled her cuffs out of her belt. “I might as
well be cuffed up like these girls will be, too.”
She handed me her handcuffs, and turned her back to me. I quickly handcuffed her wrists tightly behind her back, with her wrists facing outwards, and the handcuffs ratcheting in tightly between the wrist and the handbone.
She gave a quick tug, and said “Not bad” to me, acknowledging that I had done this correctly.
“Now,” she said, “take the ball-gag, place it between my teeth, and
buckle it behind my neck under my hair.”
I placed the ball next to her ruby lips, and she opened to receive it. The gag was twisted between her white teeth. I took the leather straps and held her fragrant hair as it pulled the roller buckle and closed it. Then, I came around in front of her, checked that the ball was properly centered behind her teeth, and pulled the buckle tight, drawing the ball back into her mouth, pulling her lips around the ball as the strap pulled tight and made her cheeks bulge above them.
Her eyes widened and she groaned. I knew that I had done a good job on the ball-gag as well as the handcuffs.
“I think we should go with it, what do you think, Chief?” I asked.
“Looks great. Now, Regina, what can you say, if anything?”
“I can thay somethinks,” she struggled to get out from behind her gag.
“Try yelling real loud,” I asked.
Try though she might, Regina could only manage regular voice volume when locked in the ball-gag.
“Alright, let’s go with the ball-gags for all the female prisoners,”
directed the Chief. “Regina, order a couple of dozen, or whatever you think is appropriate, and train all the officers in how to properly apply them.
“I think this would be good to demo in front of the Board of Regents,” I suggested. “Just to show them our progress.”
“Good,” said the Chief. “You and Regina . .”
The door opened to the conference room, and Billy came in. He was taken aback when he saw his boss, Regina, in handcuffs, and gagged. He stood there with his mouth open.
“Well,” said the Chief quickly. “I think that we’re finished here.”
“Chief,” I said. “I’d like Regina to spend the rest of the day in a
lockup cell to see if this might be too severe for our prisoners.”
Regina protested behind her gag.
“Sounds good,” said the Chief. “You can handle it, Regina, and then you can feel comfortable about prosecuting this. Billy, clap some leg-irons on her, and take her to the lock up. Lock her down in a cell, and check on her every couple of hours.”
“Yes, Sir!” said Billy.
“MMMMM,” protested Regina, as leg-irons were affixed, then double-locked above her black pumps. Billy took her by the arm, and hustled her to the door. She gave him a run for his money, but a trained officer (one that she had trained herself can easily handle a handcuffed and leg-ironed woman. Without difficulty, she was taken to her cell, and locked down.
“Sounds good, Jim, go for it,” said the Chief.