A Day in the Life of a UMD DOTS Officer

author-pic at University of Maryland  

Header Image Whether you’re a student, parent, or visitor to the University of Maryland, there’s a 97% chance that you’ve been harassed by the Department of Transportation Services at some point. In an attempt to curry better favor with the public, they asked us to ride along with DOTS Officer Harvey Johnson yesterday to see what a day in his life is like. Needless to say, it was eye-opening.

7:00 a.m.: Officer Johnson kicks off his day with a wholesome breakfast from the Bagel Place. He orders an everything bagel and his coffee black, “just like [his] soul.” His words, not ours.

7:13 a.m.: While the barista isn’t looking, Officer Johnson steals a few dollars from the tip jar without anyone noticing.

7:34 a.m.: After finishing breakfast and complaining to the barista about how hot his coffee is, Officer Johnson embarks on his journey to “ruin as many people’s days as possible.” Still his words, not ours.

9:00 a.m.: Officer Johnson arrives at Mowatt Garage to begin ticketing the cars that don’t belong there. “I definitely profile the cars I’m going to ticket,” said the officer. “If I come across a Toyota Prius or Kia Soul, I’m going to be more inclined to give a ticket. After all, only jackasses drive those cars.”

9:03 a.m.: He comes across a Prius with “Feel the Bern” and “Coexist” bumper stickers. Infuriated that the car had not broken any parking laws, the officer proceeds to discretely slash its tires.

11:13 a.m.: The next stop of the day takes us over to the parking lots surrounding the Eppley Recreation Center, where he has a field day. He writes tickets left and right, working himself up into a tizzy, his face alight like a child laying her eyes on her presents Christmas morning.

12:00 p.m.: Lunchtime. The officer steals two third-graders’ lunchboxes for us to eat.

1:00 p.m.: We’ve just finished lunch, Officer Johnson sees a car illegally parked and writes up a ticket. Just before placing the ticket, he notices a baby boy in the car. The baby is crying, likely because the AC is not on, he has no water, and his favorite music is not playing. Observing this, Officer Johnson chuckles to himself, throws away the ticket, and walks back to his car with a smirk on his face.

2:37 p.m.: Enraged at a slow cyclist in front of him, Officer Johnson proceeds to run them off the road while murmuring to himself, “Score one for the home team.”

3:00 p.m.: Searching for more easy cars to ticket, Officer Johnson parks right next to the Shoemaker Building in a lot filled with meters. He stands in front of a car whose meter is about to expire, ticket out, salivating as he waits for the glorious moment when the meter hits 0. Just as it does so, a panicked student comes running to her car. Unfortunately, it’s too late. He smiles, waves, and places the ticket on her car windshield.

4:56 p.m.: To end his day, Officer Johnson returns to the main DOTS offices and gleefully reflects on “all the days [he] successfully ruined”. Once again, an exact quote.

If we’ve learned one thing today, it’s that you should never judge a DOTS officer for just one terrible experience before taking a look at the situation from their perspective. Just kidding, fuck DOTS.