Lafayette police officer parks in handicapped spot, picture goes viral

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Photo credit: TheToolMan

Photo credit: TheToolMan

LAFAYETTE, Ind. (July 13, 2015) – A picture of a Lafayette police car parked in a handicapped spot at IHOP has recently gone viral.

The photo was submitted to Reddit by user TheToolMan Monday morning around 9 a.m.

The caption to the picture is “My local police must be responding to a pancake emergency.”

According to TheToolMan, the officer was inside the restaurant eating breakfast, and he was not responding to an emergency.

We reached out to the Lafayette Police Department for a statement, but they have not yet responded.

The picture already has over one million views.

UPDATE: Lafayatte Police Department Chief Flannelly says the image was brought to his attention Sunday evening, July 12. He immediately initiated an internal investigation to determine the circumstances.  “It was incredibly disappointing to see the image and embarrassing to our agency.  Outside of an officer responding to the business for life saving action there is no reason for a police car to be parked in that spot, period.” 

An internal review was conducted and the findings revealed that the officer was not parked in the spot for any official business. According to Chief Flannelly, the officer who parked in the spot informed his commander that he did not see the marking on the ground and was unaware that it was there until a citizen pointed it out to him. He was very embarrassed and apologetic for his mistake.

The Lafayette Police Department later determined the space was not properly or adequately marked as a handicap space because it lacked the required signage and marking requirements.  Chief Flannelly says no vehicle, regardless of who operated it, could be ticketed for utilizing the space.

The officer’s actions were determined to be an honest mistake and there was no willful intent on his part to deny any rightfully placarded citizen the opportunity to park in that space.

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