Reader Question: Why is it illegal to park left wheels to the curb?

Some time ago I got a reader question from Crystal Proxmire publisher of the Oakland County 115 online news hub on this topic.  At the time I had a stack of blog posts and never got around to it.  But I found her question again today and decided it would be a good day to do a blog on it.

The question was:  why can’t a vehicle be parked with the left wheels next to the curb?  The short answer is that it is illegal.  And here is the law citation:

Public Act 300 of 1949  Michigan Vehicle Code

257.675 Stopping, standing, or parking of vehicle; requirements; signs; traffic control orders as rules; hearing; use of windshield placard by disabled person; courtesy required; free parking sticker; display; confiscation; false statement, deception, or fraud as misdemeanor; penalty; violation as civil infraction; cancellation, revocation, or suspension; driver’s, chauffeur’s, or state personal identification card number; signature of physician, physician assistant, or certified nurse practitioner; third party reimbursement or worker’s compensation.
Sec. 675.

(1) Except as otherwise provided in this section and this chapter, a vehicle stopped or parked upon a highway or street shall be stopped or parked with the wheels of the vehicle parallel to the roadway and within 12 inches of any curb existing at the right of the vehicle.

(2) A local authority may by ordinance permit parking of a vehicle on a 1-way roadway with the vehicle’s left wheels adjacent to and within 12 inches of any curb existing at the left of the vehicle.

You will note that the Vehicle Code was first passed in 1949–this largely isn’t new stuff.

I believe this became the law simply because it is dangerous.  You have to drive on the wrong side of the road to park that way –and to leave the parking space.  Because rear lights on a car are reflectorized at night a car parked the wrong way to traffic is harder to see.  Cars going every which way just isn’t safe.  The traffic laws were developed to make sure we had an orderly progression of traffic around our communities.

I also did some quick online research and came up with this article from Vermont that I thought was good and written from the point of view of a non police person.  Author Megan James of the publication “Seven Days” investigated the issue.  (It caught my eye since I’ve been to Winooki, Vermont several times to visit some friends who live there.  It is a suburb of the capital Burlington. Nice town.)

When I moved to Winooski last year, one of the first things my new neighbors warned me about was parking against the flow of traffic….

Source: WTF: Why will parking against the flow of traffic get you a ticket in Winooski?

We Need Car Seats

You might remember that we inspect children’s car seats upon request.  We have held several events around town to help parents correctly and safely install their child’s safety seat.

Now we are asking for your help.  In addition to inspecting seats, we sometimes give them child seataway to families that need a seat but can’t afford one.  Sometimes they have one but the child has outgrown it.  Now it is unsafe but they can’t afford a new one.

Last year our employees raised money for car seats and our friends at Target stores gave us a special price to help us stretch our dollars.  In May city employees will again have the opportunity to wear jeans on Friday to raise money for car seats.  And we need the help – we are running out of seats.

5steptestIf you are a public service group looking for a great project providing car seats for kids is an excellent way to help to others.  Or if you are a person who just wants to pay it forward and help someone else, we have just the thing for you.

You can bring us a seat, new in a box (sorry no used seats) or write us a check.  We will see that it gets into the right hands (or under small butts, as it were).

Need more information?  Contact Quentessa Tuffs, my assistant at 248-364-6850

Thank you in advance.


Community Education — Michigan Commission on Law Enforcement Standards

It seems that daily the public is bombarded with negative stories about law enforcement. Simultaneously positive stories are not presented or do not get significant coverage. That is just a fact of life and life in the public setting. The media handling of law enforcement is not restricted to just the police but is how […]

via Community Education — Michigan Commission on Law Enforcement Standards

Crime Statistics Don’t Show Police Response to the Mentally Ill

I’ve blogged about this before and Director Comey’s comments on Tuesday reminded me of it again.

If police “success” or effectiveness is measured by reported crime statistics how do we account for all of the peace keeping  and order maintenance activities that police are required to do that don’t have an associated crime?  Like traffic enforcement – most are civil infraction tickets with a few misdemeanors thrown in (like driving without a license or a suspended license -those are crimes).  Like noise complaints and public nuisances.

One social order maintenance activity that is steadily increasing is dealing with the mentally ill — people who are acting out at home or in public, mentally ill people who want a ride to the hospital, walking down the middle of the street while hearing voices, stuff like that.  Suicidal threats or attempts – another version.  This is an area where there has been a decrease in governmental funding for services and as a result dealing with the resulting situations are left to the police.

Here is how it looks for us

  • 2013 – 78 cases
  • 2014 – 82 cases
  • 2015 – 121 cases
  • 2016 – 39 year to date

In this count I only used the cases where the officers coded it as dealing with the mentally ill.  Not all of the associated kinds of activities like the suicide attempts and other kinds of cases where mental health was a factor.  Starting in 2015 we are trying to get everything coded as mental health call where that is the most accurate code.

Not everything we do is crime related –actually it is only a fraction of what we do.  But we are called to perform many other tasks that no one else in society does.  That is the majority of our job.  So how should policing success be measured?

FBI Director James Comey Meets with Local Police Chiefs

Local police chiefs and sheriffs had an opportunity today to meet with FBI Director James Comey.  This is the 2nd time in his 10 year appointment to visit the state FBI office and as part of that he meets with law enforcement leadership from around the state.

He spoke briefly and then took questions for about 40 minutes.  He talked about terrorism and what he thought we could be seeing in the next 3-5 years–sorry it is more opportunity for terrorists here at home like we are seeing in Europe.  He talked a little about the situation with Apple and unlocking the phone of the San Bernadino terrorists and what that means going forward.

He also talked about his views on the changes in crime reporting.  A Michigan State Police lieutenant colonel asked him to use his authority to restrict federal grants to states that don’t do incident crime reporting(the most accurate form).  He raised a good point.  Those few states like Michigan and Tennessee that use incident based reporting look like we have have worse crime problems than actually we do –because we are fully reporting and other states are not.  It is a if-a-tree-falls-in-the- forest-is- there-a- noise-if-no-one-is-there-to-hear-it kind of argument. Is there a crime if it isn’t reported or reported accurately.   Comey said he didn’t have a stick to do that but he’d try shaming.   He knows that we are held accountable for “increases” in crime when in actuality it is only a more accurate accounting method.

He mentioned that he has a son who is graduating from college soon who wants to be a police officer.  He said his son is about to enter a police academy.  He’s doing it because he wants to help people he told his dad.  Comie says he is very proud of his son but he worries that other high quality young people are not making the same choice and that will plague communities for years to come.  One undersheriff told him that had already happened.  People don’t want to be the police in this day and age.

All in all it was very interesting to hear what he is thinking about.  I appreciate that he came to see us and was interested in what is important to us.

2016 American Legion Hill-Gazette Post Honors AHPD Officer of the Year

Last Saturday night Officer Martin Mikolajczyk was honored by the Hill-Gazette Legion Post of Auburn Hills as their Officer of the Year.  He was nominated by Lt. Ryan Gagnon, Operations Division Commander:

On behalf of the entire command staff at the Auburn Hills Police Department, it is our honor to nominate Officer Martin Mikolajczak for the Michigan American Legion Department Law Enforcement Officer of the Year award.  Our staff considered who best represented the qualities of professionalism, dedication and service to the community.   Officer Mikolajczak has exceeded our standards and has demonstrated all of these qualities.  It is our honor to recommend him for this distinguished award.

Officer Mikolajczak was born in Poland, Europe.  He moved to the United States in 2001 with the idea of being a law enforcement officer.  Officer Mikolajczak enrolled in a criminal justice program at Macomb Community College.  While in school he participated in an internship with the Warren Police Department.  This experience assured Officer Mikolajczak that he had made the right career choice.   After receiving his associate degree in criminal justice, Officer Mikolajczak enrolled in the Macomb Police Academy and graduated with honors in 2010.

Officer Mikolajczak started his police career at the Rock Hill Police Department in South Carolina.  This was a great professional experience for him.  In April of 2012, Officer Mikolajczak relocated to the City of Auburn Hills and started working for our Police Department.   Officer Mikolajczak indicated that he enjoys working for Auburn Hills, as our agency not only enforces the law but also focuses on community related issues and their residents.

For approximately 3 years, Officer Mikolajczak has been assigned to road patrol working both the afternoon shift and midnight shift.   Officer Mikolajczak has developed good working relationships with his co-workers and the community he serves.

Officer Mikolajczak is currently on the midnight shift, where he indicates the shift offers him an opportunity develop and master his investigation skills.

Both of Officer Mikolajczak’s shift sergeants indicate that he has grown tremendously as an officer.  Officer Mikolajczak demonstrates a positive attitude related to his commitment to performing professional services to the community.  Officer Mikolajczak is a motivated officer and comes to work each night to greet people with a smile.

Officer Mikolajczak has assisted new officers on the midnight shift in their training and development.  He has become a leader on the midnight shift and has consistently been leading his shift in the number of arrests and traffic citations.

Officer Mikolajczak is a fine example of a person living up to the Law Enforcement Code of Ethics:

The Law Enforcement Code of Ethics states:

“As a law enforcement officer, my fundamental duty is to serve the community; to safeguard lives and property; to protect the innocent against deception, the weak against oppression or intimidation, and the peaceful against violence or disorder and to respect the Constitutional rights of all to liberty, equality and justice”

Officer Mikolajczak values his family and his law enforcement profession.  He and his wife Anna have one daughter Julia and new son.  In his spare time he enjoys spending time with his family and sport cars.

Recently, Officer Mikolajczak was selected become part of the Southeast Oakland County Crash Investigative Team.  We look forward to his contributions on this multi-jurisdiction crash investigation team.

Officer Mikolajczak is proud and considers it to be an honor to be part of the Auburn Hills Police Department.  It is for these reasons, that we nominate Martin Mikolajczak for the Michigan American Legion Department of Law Enforcement Officer of the Year.  Thank you for your consideration.


Lt. Ryan Gagnon

Operations Division Commander

Auburn Hills Police Department  

Also honored as Firefighter of the Year was AHFD Firefighter Brian Shembeck.

Here are some photos:

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