Parking Enforcement Officer Aaron Chalmers may be the most misunderstood man on campus.
The feeling of dread elicited by a tiny green slip of paper on the windshield of a car is familiar to many Butler University students with cars on campus.
With parking enforcement officer Aaron Chalmers on duty, parking tickets are sure to find their way under the windshield wipers of vehicles in violation of parking restrictions.
While Chalmers has been cast as the man who doles out endless parking tickets, the man outside his parking pick-up truck tells quite a different story.
Q: Describe your experience in parking enforcement here at Butler.
A: I’ve been working as the parking enforcement officer for about 10 or 11 years. I’ve been at Butler for 20 years. I’ve worked as a dispatcher, police officer and security officer. I’ve held about every position. I got out of college and was looking for a job, and I ended up staying at college. You guys stay the same age, and I just keep getting older and older.
Q: How do you feel writing out tickets to students who probably don’t appreciate it?
A: I don’t really think about it anymore. I mean, when I first started, I felt pretty bad about it. No one wants to be seen as the evil guy. Now I hate to say that you get cold to it, but you really do. I’ve repeated the action so many times that I’ve stopped thinking about it.
Q: What is the funniest excuse you’ve heard to try to escape getting a ticket?
A: I had a girl try to tell me that she never brings her car to campus, so she didn’t understand the parking. She had run out of time on the parking meter. That is pretty standard everywhere, not just at Butler. I’ve heard about every story there is, so I can usually finish every excuse before it’s started. Just be honest with me.
Q: How do students react to instances where they walk up to you while you are writing the ticket?
A: Well, there’s a whole lot of everything. It happens daily. Some argue, some beg, some just take the ticket. I don’t want to give them a ticket any more than they want one. If you don’t hand them out to violators, you lose control of the campus.
Q: What are some of the weirdest places students have parked?
A: Nothing immediately comes to mind as being really out of the ordinary. I’ve never seen a car on top of a building or anything. One year, some guys from one of the fraternity houses tried to park their truck on top of a large snow bank. It got stuck, and they had to call a tow truck to come haul them out. I guess they didn’t realize that snow can’t hold 8,000 pounds.
Q: Have you ever gotten a parking ticket?
A: Yes, I have. I can’t remember the exact instances. It was probably when I was about 16 or 17, so it was a couple years ago. Well, I’m exaggerating on the “couple years ago” part. I think I had let the parking meter expire. I wasn’t really upset about it. The police officers were just doing their job like every other person. Like I am now.