Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Ohio DNR makes excuses for Watercraft officer caught parking state truck in handicapped-only slot

It would appear that when it comes to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources what is good for the goose doesn't necessarily mean that the law applies to the gander.

An Internet-based photograph has been circulating showing an Ohio Department of Natural Resources' Division of Watercraft pick-up truck – bearing the agency's logo on the driver's door and a state license plate on the vehicle's nose – parked in a handicapped-only slot.

It took a while to ferret out what the deal was but the Natural Resources Department finally did address the issue. Sort of, anyway.

Indeed, says the Natural Resources Department, the Watercraft Division was illegally parked in the slot. But that's really okay, the department says, because six-year Watercraft Division veteran officer Darren Barnett didn't actually see that it was a marked handicapped-only parking slot.

It seems that officer Barnett must have been in something of a crash-rush hurry to get to his safe-boating education class at southwest Ohio's East Fork Reservoir. In the process of engaging his warp drive, officer Barnett failed to take note of where he was parked.

Extrapolating its excuse further, Natural Resources Department said officer Barnett would not have broke the law “... had he noticed the (internationally recognized handicapped-only) symbol on the pavement reserving spot.”

“He even apologized to the marina staff when he discovered his error,” said Natural Resources Department spokesman Matt Eiselstein.

Problem is, one would have to be oblivious to the obvious in failing to see the ubiquitous blue-colored handicapped symbol with its stylized white-painted outline of a person sitting in a wheelchair.

Fact is - and based on the circulating photograph - Barnett's state-issued Watercraft truck covers only about one-half of the symbol. The rest of the colorful emblem is readily visible in front of Barnett's Ford-branded pick-up.

Ah, but the Department's excuse game gets better.

Had the handicapped-designated space also contained a mounted sign designating the slot as being off-limits to all but handicapped permit-holders, well then, surely it “...would have immediately drawn the officer's attention.”

As a result, the Natural Resources Department's wrist-slapping tisk-tisk-tisk reprimand of officer Barnett consisted of him being “... counseled on being more attentive when parking his vehicle.”

“(The) ODNR expects all of our employees, especially law enforcement officers, to comply with all laws, rules and regulations,” Eisestein said as well.

Oh really? What about officer Barnett paying for his mistake via the issuance of a ticket, or does the handicapped-only parking rule only apply to the public? After all, parking in a designated handicapped-only parking slot is an illegal activity, punishable by a fine of $250 to $500.

As a person lawfully empowered to own and use a handicapped placard, I am always ticked-off by violators who utilize such parking slots, no matter how feeble are their arguments. So, yeah, I do take this offense personally.

Frankly, I am both surprised and miffed that officer Barnett managed to avoid paying a fine for his lack of attentiveness. After all, if it is good for the public goose than it ought to be good for officer Barnett's gander as well.

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn


  1. Typical of these guys. You and I would receive a hefty fine. They have an excuse for breaking every rule you and I must follow.

  2. If you would take the time to look at the law you would see it is not possible to charge the officer because there is not an elevated sign as required by law. Maybe the officer ought to be" miffed and surprised" you are so negative towards officers and not responsible enough to look at all the facts. But as you have always shown in the past, you omit facts and dwell on half truths to fuel your obvious bias against ODNR officers.

    1. Actually the law states:
      Identification of Accessible Parking Spaces: Accessible parking spaces must be identified by signs. However, please note that where a total of four or fewer parking spaces, including accessible parking
      spaces, are provided on a site, vertical signs identifying accessible parking spaces are not required. This country is taking on a decidedly police state mentality in the minds of law enforcement. They are above the law whether it's taking up a handicapped spot, arresting journalists for no good reason, shooting tear gas cans directly at people, or shooting unarmed civilians. It's turning into goons with guns and they need to be held accountable!

  3. I have received many comments similar to the previous comment from the public and organizations that are growing tired of Fricshkorn's obvious hatred towards ODNR officers. It seems as if Fricshkorn wanted to be an ODNR officer and was not qualified and passed over and he has resentment and jealousy toward them. I have not spoken to one person that agrees with him! I'm sure Officer Barnett is looking forward to submitting his next mandatory, forced "Cuffs And Collars" article to benefit Fricshkorn's business and news paper!!!

  4. I think Frischkorn is right on. If you have followed the news on the ODNR law enforcement the past couple of years its obvious the law only applies to and where they enforce it. I can't believe this is Officer Barnett's first time parking there either, it just happens some one had a camera and some nerve this time around.