Posted at: 12/06/2012 6:16 PM
Updated at: 12/06/2012 6:17 PM
By: Beth Wurtmann
COXSACKIE - Outside the Cumberland Farms in Coxsackie Thursday, we showed some customers the picture sent to us by an anonymous tipster.
"Outrageous. if I do say so myself. I think anyone with a disability should be offended," said Jessica Abrams of Earlton.
The photo depicts a Coxsackie police car parked in a space cleared marked with a handicapped sign, close to the door of the convenience store, next to an empty space.
"I think it's kind of funny and ironic. They're the ones that are supposed to be the ones telling us not to park there," said Dave Greco, a Coxsackie resident.
The tipster said he saw the officer inside the convenience store, buying a soda and chatting with the clerk. All while his vehicle was blocking the space meant for an actual disabled person with a valid handicapped parking sticker.
We tracked down the same car at the police station, and showed the picture to the Coxsackie Police Chief, who said there's no excuse.
"None. What excuse could he have? I don't care if you park on the street to get a soda. He can walk. You don't need to park in a handicapped spot," said Chief Donald Meier.
Meier said the officer, named Billy, is apologetic, admitting that he just wasn't paying attention. The officer will be issued a counseling memo, but Meier said the embarrassment of the photo going public, will be the lasting repercussion.
Meier also said he's glad the tipster took the picture, because no one is above the law.
"When you're going to do this you have to go out in a police care and realize everybody's watching you and that's okay because you shouldn't be doing anything wrong," he said.
After our interview, Meier added that the Cumberland Farms recently moved its handicapped spots and hadn't taken the sign down where his officer parked.
But he said there's still no excuse for parking where there is a handicapped sign or where there is a blue emblem painted on the space itself.