If you got a parking ticket in Albuquerque in the past four months, there’s a chance you don’t have to pay it.
KRQE News 13 has learned the city fired a parking enforcement officer and a lot of the tickets she wrote could be dismissed.
“I have been physically struck by vehicles to my person outside my vehicle, I’ve had items thrown at me, I have been spit at,” said Ella Barefoot.
Parking enforcement officers are not the most popular people. Ella Barefoot knows because she was one.
“It’s incredibly rough,” said Barefoot. Despite all the negatives of the job, she said enjoyed it. “I loved it, it was perfect.”
Yet, she said the city let her go with no reason. She believes it may have been because she was outspoken about safety concerns while on the job.
“Just to be told we’re letting you go, no explanation… it was devastating,” she said.
A spokesperson for the city said she was in a six-month probationary period where workers can be let go for anything. KRQE News 13 featured Officer Barefoot’s work a couple of weeks ago after she wrote 21 tickets for parking in handicapped spots at Presbyterian Hospital in just two weeks.
“I made a point, three times a day, I would go and I would walk the entire parking structure and handicap,” she said.
Now that she’s been let go, those $350 tickets could all disappear too. She also wrote more than 1,200 other parking tickets in her brief time with the city.
“Unfortunately, if they set these tickets up for court and as the officer who witnesses the violation, I can’t go and say this is what happened,” said Barefoot.
The city confirms any unpaid tickets handed out by officer Barefoot will eventually be sent to court and dismissed.
Barefoot said about 40 percent of the people she ticketed wanted to fight their tickets in court. The city said people who already paid up won’t get a refund.