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Parking tickets cause stir downtown

NATCHEZ — Several Natchez residents on Sunday were surprised to find parking tickets on their vehicles.

Natchez Police Chief Joseph Daughtry said those parking tickets should not have come as a surprise.

“I can’t say we’ve stepped up enforcing parking infractions,” Daughtry said. “To be honest with you, we are going to enforce the law. With that being said, if there is an error, if an officer made an error, we have no problem with fixing it.

“But being a part of this club or that club isn’t going to make anyone exempt from the law. People in Natchez want me to be fair. I am the chief for everybody. I am not the chief for just one status or another,” he said.

Two who complained to The Natchez Democrat said they were volunteering for a club of which they are a member and returned to their homes in downtown Natchez to find parking citations on their vehicles. Those two said they knew of at least two others who received parking tickets for violations on Sunday.

One said she is concerned the issuing of parking tickets could discourage visitors who have come to Natchez to spend the day if they receive a ticket for a parking violation.

“If a previous police chief didn’t issue tickets because of a manpower issue, that was another administration. We are still buying ticket books,” Daughtry said. “Here is the thing about it. These tickets were written for parking infractions. If we made a mistake, we can correct it. We are human and we make mistakes. But if we didn’t make a mistake, I will stand by my officer. I think people are overreacting in this instance.”

Daughtry said enforcement of the law does not end with tickets for parking violations.

“We are enforcing speeding laws as well. We are writing more tickets for expired tags and texting and driving,” he said. “One of my officers wrote a speeding ticket last week and the woman told him, ‘Y’all don’t do that in Natchez. That’s not the Natchez way.’ We are enforcing the law and protecting the citizens of Natchez. That’s our job.”

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