Editor’s note: This article has been updated since it was originally published on Tuesday, Jan. 9, 2024, at 4:48 p.m. Please see bottom or article for most recently updated information.
In response to photos circulating online of a police cruiser parked in an accessible parking space at a local McDonald’s, Kingston Police issued a media release detailing the circumstances of the occurrence.
Kingstonist began inquiring with police about the locally viral photos on Monday, Jan. 8, 2024, after the photo was posted on different social media platforms from Saturday, Jan. 6 to Monday, Jan. 8, 2024. Earlier today, Constable Anthony Colangeli, Media Relations Officer for Kingston Police, disclosed that the photo was not taken on the day it was first posted online (January 6). This was further explained in the media release later in the day.
According to the release, on Wednesday, Dec. 27, 2023, members of the Kingston Police Patrol Division were responding to an emergency call for service which occurred in the area of the Kingslake Plaza, located at 1201 Division Street.
“The individual involved in this incident had fled the area on foot and information received indicated they may have entered a nearby restaurant located within the plaza,” police said.
“In an effort to locate the individual, the responding officer quickly parked their cruiser in an accessible parking space. Although this was an unfortunate use of an accessible parking space, there was no intention to deny any members of the public use of this space.”
The police cruiser was photographed while parked in the accessible parking space at that time, and the photos were subsequently shared on social media. At the time of publishing, the social posts have garnered 508 comments on Reddit and 94 comments on Facebook.
According to the release, the individual was not located in the restaurant, however, was located shortly afterwards inside a nearby business.
A 28-year-old Kingston individual was arrested and charged with two counts of theft under $5,000, two counts of breach of probation, and one count of mischief under $5,000.
Inquiries to Kingston Police regarding when officers are allowed to use accessible parking spots while on the job did not receive response.
Update (Thursday, Jan. 11, 2024, at 10:50 a.m.):
In response to Kingstonist inquiries as to whether Kingston Police officers are permitted to use accessible parking spots while on the job and, if so, when, Constable Anthony Colangeli, Media Relations Officer for Kingston Police, cited ‘City of Kingston By-Law Number 2010-128: A By-Law to Regulate Parking,’ specifically Section 8.
Section 8.1 of the City’s parking bylaw (which can be read in full on page 23 of the 109-page bylaw, available through the City of Kingston website) states that emergency vehicles are “exempt from the regulations established by this by-law when responding to emergencies.”
With files from Tori Stafford.