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Fists, spittle, hot coffee . . . all in a day s work for a Toronto parking officer

Fists, spittle, hot coffee . . . all in a day s work for a Toronto parking officer
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“I was just shocked, and glad I was wearing my sunglasses,” says the parking enforcement officer, later treated for burns on his cheeks.

Writing down the plate of the fleeing car, he realized he had just ticketed it several blocks away. The 30-ish looking driver, who had yelled at him from inside the car, had found him and crouched waiting, coffee in hand.

“I’ve had my foot run over, things have been thrown at me; it’s not a job for the faint-hearted,” says Fernandes, 40, who, for a decade, has affixed yellow tickets to illegally parked vehicles in the city’s west end.

Nobody smiles while getting dinged. Toronto’s 325 frontline parking officers have seen, heard and sometimes felt it all.

Each month since the start of 2015, an average of more than five Toronto parking officers have suffered physical attack or significant verbal threat, according to incident reports reviewed by the Star.

Motorists, furious at fines often $30 or $60, routinely chase or drive at officers; run over their feet; threaten to kill them; spit in their faces; strike them with bumpers or side mirrors as the motorists try to drive away; reverse into them; shove, punch, slap and grab them, and throw water bottles, cigarettes, and, in one case, a “hard cookie.”
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