Physical attacks on parking control officers average about 16 per year, according to The City’s Municipal Transportation Agency. So far this year, 10 assaults have been reported.
The attacks are not just limited to the parking control Officers, MTA spokesperson Maggie Lynch said. Muni drivers are also regularly subject to physical and verbal assaults.
"We’re in a tight urban place; this isn’t Lodi, where you can always find a parking space," Lynch said. "Once in a while, you get someone who maybe had a bad day, and they take it out on the first person they encounter — and maybe it’s the parking control officer or the transit operator."
Lawanna Preston, staff director for Service Workers International Union Local 790, which represents the parking control officers, said the officers are not supposed to carry any self-defense tools because it is against department policy for them to engage in physical altercations with the public.
The City’s transit agency works diligently with law enforcement to ensure that any assaults against MTA employees are investigated and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law, MTA Director Nathaniel Ford told The Examiner in an e-mail.
"All city employees need to be able to do the job that the citizens of The City have asked them to do without fear of physical attack."