Police chief orders officer to ticket wife ...again

Sep 30 2011 - 8:41am

LODI, N.J. -- The police chief recently proved that no one who double-parks is safe from a ticket.

Chief Vincent Caruso ordered an officer to give his wife a ticket after she double-parked while dropping off their 5-year-old son at school on Tuesday. And it's not the first time: He ordered another officer to ticket her car two years ago after she forgot to move it for street cleaning.

"She's not above the law," the chief said Thursday. "I didn't want her to get any special treatment because of who she is."

In the more recent parking incident, the chief said he has already paid the $54 ticket that he ordered the officer to write.

The officer was charged with keeping traffic moving in front of the school and saw a line of double-parked cars on Tuesday morning. He decided to tell them to move and give them a warning, then walked up to the last car only to discover that it belonged to the chief's wife, Paula.

She had actually just dropped her son off and was walking back to the car, Caruso said. When the officer related the story to the chief, he said he was adamant about being ethical.

"I said, 'I'm ordering you to give her a ticket,"' the chief said.

When she forgot to move the car two years ago, an officer called the chief, asking him to tell his wife to move her car for street cleaning. Caruso said he refused and told the officer to write the ticket.

"I love my wife dearly," Caruso said. "She's amazing. She's very busy. She has three kids under the age of 5."

The chief said his wife is busy driving their four sons -- ages 2, 4, 5 and 13 -- back and forth to school every day.

"She's constantly running around all day," he said.

But the law is the law, Caruso said, and Lodi has been dealing with parking issues around the schools. Officers are out in the morning and the afternoon to keep traffic moving.

"We have a lot of kids in our school district," he said. "The streets are not built for that. Everyone wants to drop their kid off and walk them into school."

Caruso said his wife did not want to comment on the tickets, saying she is upset by the media attention.

(c)2011 The Record (Hackensack, N.J.)

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