Attorney General Charlie Crist News Release
June 16, 2005
Media Contact: Jenn Meale
Phone: (850) 245-0150
Crist: Police Cars Are Not Commercial Vehicles
DAVIE - Attorney General Charlie Crist today concluded that a police officer can park a police car in the driveway of his home even though a homeowners association rule bars "commercial" vehicles from being parked in the neighborhood. Crist determined that police cars are not commercial vehicles, and therefore the association's rules cannot prevent the officer from leaving the cruiser in his driveway when he is off duty.
Crist issued Attorney General's Opinion 05-36, at the request of Davie Town Councilmember Susan Starkey, who on behalf of the town asked for a formal determination of whether a marked police vehicle assigned to a law enforcement officer is a commercial vehicle.
"Public safety is the first duty of government, and law enforcement officers are among the most heroic citizens in our society," said Crist. "To suggest that these officers are somehow engaged in commercial activity stretches common sense beyond the breaking point. Officers provide an invaluable public service, and the visible presence of a police car in a residential neighborhood can only contribute to the safety of that neighborhood."
The opinion was requested in response to the situation of Miami Beach police officer Kevin Millan, a resident of the Davie neighborhood of Carlton Ranches. The neighborhood's homeowners association said Officer Millan's practice of parking his police cruiser in his driveway violated association rules against commercial vehicles. The Attorney General traveled to Officer Millan's home to present the opinion personally to Councilmember Starkey and Officer Millan.
In the Attorney General's Opinion, Crist wrote: "The provision of law enforcement services is an integral and constituent part of government. It is the performance of a governmental duty owed to the general public at large. This office has previously recognized that the assignment of a police vehicle to an officer to drive during off-duty hours to provide quicker response when called to an emergency would be of a direct benefit to the public. In addition, the presence of a police vehicle in a neighborhood may serve as a deterrent to crime. Clearly, the provision of law enforcement services does not constitute a commercial enterprise."
AGO 05-36 is available at: http://myfloridalegal.com/ago.nsf/Opinions/0D1E173CAF5568FF852570220059A538