With a rise in the misuse of disabled parking placards, Huntington Beach is cracking down on offenders with an ordinance that gives the police department the authority to issue citations that will carry a fine of $880.

Editors’ Note: This dispatch is part of the Voice of OC Youth Media program, working with student journalists to cover public policy issues across Orange County. If you would like to submit your own student media project related to Orange County civics or if you have any response to this work, contact Digital Editor Sonya Quick at squick@voiceofoc.org.

The city is struggling with people using other people’s placards, said Police Chief Robert Handy.

The City Council on Nov. 18 unanimously approved a resolution stating that the new $880 fine is “necessary since current city fines for misuse of a disabled placard have not had a sufficient deterrent effect in reducing the illegal use of disabled placards in the city.”

Councilwoman Kim Carr asked the police department to be “very compassionate and open” about expired tags for families with a disabled member.

“$880 is a hell of a fine,” Karr said.

Chief Handy said, “Our intent here isn’t to hold disabled people accountable for an expired tag. It’s really to get rid of the fraud and abuse.”

The resolution will go into effect in January.

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