Greensboro, N.C. - There's no excuse for parking in a handicapped space when you're not handicapped.
For years, people have gotten away with it. Not anymore.
A volunteer of army of about 40 volunteer now patrols the handicapped parking spaces all over the city. In the past year, those volunteers have made the city more than $87,000 in fines.
"Our police officers can't be everywhere. They're taking care of the really dangerous crimes. I don't want to do that," volunteer Sylvia Poole said.
Robert and Sylvia Poole don't have a police officer's badge, but they carry a ticket book and a digital camera wherever they go.
"I don't feel bad about writing them a ticket," Sylvia Poole said.
Robert Poole added, "I don't think there's that many people out there that don't know you're not supposed to park in a handicapped spot...When you pull in front of a handicapped sign and it has written on that sign $250. You know what it's going to cost you if you get caught."
In the past four months, the Pooles have written 600 parking tickets. Thousands ignore the handicapped parking signs, making life even tougher for people like Madeline Beck. Beck has a disability that gives her the right to park in a handicapped space.
Beck has no tolerance for those who illegally park in handicapped spots. "I think those people are very uncaring for others who would appreciate that spot much more than they need it," Beck said.
Parking Enforcement officer Bill Keefe agrees with Beck. "It miffs you. It really does miff you off."
With a staff of only four paid city employees, parking enforcement officers love the extra help from the volunteers.
"They have made a tremendous dent in the situation," Parking Enforcement Supervisor Michael Neese said.
Keefe added, "They've been a Godsend."
Whatever you do, do not argue with the Pooles if you see them writing you a ticket. They will not budge if you're breaking the law.
"I had one lady tell me she had a relative that was in high places and I said, 'Well, ma'am you still violated the law,'" Sylvia Poole said. "It doesn't hurt to walk a few steps to help a handicapped person. We may all be there someday."
Keefe said, "I've been in the office when these people have called up. What we have found out is the people who scream the loudest are the ones who are the most guilty."
To avoid all the frustration of dealing with a $250 fine and parking ticket, Robert Poole says, "Just stop parking in handicapped spots. Let us work ourselves out of a job."
Sylvia Poole's parents were handicapped. She and her husband volunteered to write tickets because got so frustrated seeing people parking in handicapped spaces.
All volunteers must pass a background check and go through specialized training. If you're interested in volunteering, contact the city's parking enforcement office.