Saginaw chief responds after police use handicapped parking

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by MONIKA DIAZ

WFAA

Posted on September 4, 2013 at 11:11 PM

Updated Wednesday, Sep 4 at 11:18 PM

FORT WORTH — Every day is a struggle for the Jordan family. Their son, Wade, has cerebral palsy, and taking a ride anywhere requires patience and time.

"I have a dream one day that he will be able to access everything he wants, because it's a fight," said Wade’s mom, Jennifer Jordan.

Sometimes, that fight sparks disappointment and anger.

It happened nearly two weeks ago when they arrived at an Applebee's restaurant in Saginaw. The parking lot was full and the Jordans got frustrated after seeing a Saginaw police vehicle parked in one of the spaces reserved for the handicapped.

“Not being able to get a parking space where we can get our ramp down on the side and then to have it be a police officer ... it made me mad,” Jennifer Jordan said.

They took pictures of squad car No. 97. They also spoke to the officer who was responding to a non-emergency disturbance call at the restaurant.

“I was nice, but then he wouldn't acknowledge me,” Jordan said. “He didn't look at me... didn't say, 'I'm sorry.'”

The Jordans shared their frustration on Facebook and with the 3E Love website, an organization committed to changing the perception of disability.

The posts went viral. Dozens of people contacted the Saginaw Police Department.

The Jordan family also sent an e-mail to the department. Saginaw Police Chief Roger Macon wrote back and apologized for the incident.

"It appears that our officer, in an attempt to efficiently serve one segment of our community, lost sight of the larger picture and failed to protect another,” Macon wrote. “We let you down this time, and I take personal responsibility for that, and will take steps to keep it from being an issue in the future.”

Chief Macon told News 8 the officer should have parked in the fire lane, and he said the officer has been counseled.

The Jordan family says that's enough, but they are still waiting for the officer to say three words.

“I hope you learn your lesson,” Jordan said. “An apology goes a long way.”

E-mail mdiaz@wfaa.com


Full text of the letter from Saginaw Police Chief Roger Macon:

Dear Ms. Jordan:

Thank you for contacting me about this incident. As you can imagine, we’ve received an outpouring of responses from not only the Saginaw community, but across the country regarding this event.

Although we have not fully investigated the circumstances behind the call, your photographs tell a powerful story. It appears that our officer, in an attempt to efficiently serve one segment of our community, lost sight of the larger picture and failed to protect another, sometimes more fragile part of our population. For that, I offer you the department’s apology, as well as my personal apology for this shortcoming.

Our mission clearly states,

“The mission statement of the Saginaw Police Department is to provide professional, efficient and equitable service to our community through integrity, courage, compassion, accountability and pride.”

We let you down this time, and I take personal responsibility for that, and will take steps to keep it from being an issue in the future.

Should you wish to file a formal written complaint against the officer, please contact Captain Karl Johnson, either by phone or email. However, I agree that the embarrassment shared by the department and officer will go much further in ensuring that we all take this issue more seriously in the future.

I wish the best for Wade (and, of course, the rest of your family).


 

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