A police department in Iowa is helping out their community in a somewhat unorthodox way. Police in Fort Dodge will take 25% off the money generated by parking fines and donate that money to local food pantries. According to the Fort Dodge Police Department, that could come to about $7,000. Specifically, that money is coming from warrants for unpaid parking tickets, which take a while to accrue, but tell you how many people are apparently parking illegally in Fort Dodge.
The charity drive is only taking place through October, after which all the money will go where it normally does, which is towards maintaining city parking lots. In October though, some of that money will be helping charity. You could argue that most of the money from parking tickets goes to the public good, while some of it of course goes to cover wages and other administrative stuff.
But by donating some of that money to charity, the police are showing that the government cares about the people it serves, and wants to help out. It’s a nice gesture in a year where police departments around the country have come under fire for being less than supportive of people they protect and serve. It’s also a good PR move and it’s a safe bet that donating that money isn’t going to result in the catastrophic failure of any of the city’s parking lots.
Maybe the Fort Dodge Police Department will see their way to donating more of their parking proceeds in the future. And it would be great if this idea caught on, and police departments around the country started to follow suit. Of course people need public parking, but this feels like a more direct route to the service part of protect and serve. And who knows, maybe some other government departments might see their way to following suit.