Home News Booting returns to campus lots with new Idaho law

Booting returns to campus lots with new Idaho law

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Vehicle booting has been a legal gray area in the city of Rexburg for the past several months, but a new state law legalizing the practice leaves no room for interpretation.

As a result of the new law, booting can now legally take place in apartment parking lots, and parking lots on campus will see the return of booting at the beginning of next semester.

Gov. C. L. “Butch” Otter signed the bill Tuesday, March 27, clarifying and legalizing vehicle booting across the state of Idaho and allowing private property owners to control parking in their lots.

Stephen Bunnell, the university’s public safety director, said this includes BYU-Idaho campus parking.

“We’re going to start (booting) again, probably next semester,” Bunnell said.

Bunnell said BYU-Idaho stopped booting on campus last summer when the county’s deputy prosecutor, Rob Wood, told the Rexburg City Council the practice was illegal, according to Idaho state law.

Now that booting is legal again, Bunnell said the university will begin booting illegally parked cars on campus.

“It’s something we will probably start up the second week of school next term,” Bunnell said. “I want to get something up, so students are aware.”

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Booting practices on campus will be different from booting that takes place in student apartment complexes. Bunnell said those who are booted on campus will not be charged specifically to remove the boots, although parking fines on campus will remain as before.

“We use booting strictly for identification,” Bunnell said. “When a boot is applied to your car (on campus), we will come take it off for free.”

Booting companies under contract with apartment owners, on the other hand, will be allowed to continue charging people to remove boots from their vehicles under the new law.

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Last week, Police Captain Randy Lewis said boot thieves are not heroes. With Idaho’s new law, police will only become involved in booting disputes if the vehicle or boot are damaged, or if the boot is stolen.

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Captain Randy Lewis of the Rexburg Police Department said students should be aware of the new law because police will no longer be able to remove boots from illegally-parked cars.

“Up until now, (booting) has been illegal and we’ve been required to pull the boots off,” Lewis said. “It’s not illegal anymore.”

Lewis said police involvement in booting situations should decrease substantially because, under the new law, disputes over parking in private lots are now a civil issue between the booting companies and those being booted.

“The only time we’re going to get involved in the booting is if there is a dispute or something blows up,” Lewis said. “We go in to keep the peace. If we get called in, we can’t tell them to take the boot off.”

Although police cannot interfere with civil disputes about booting unless property damage occurs – either to the car or the boot – Lewis said the city is now required to provide remedies to those who have been wrongfully booted. Those who think they were booted illegally can go to the city and file in a small claims court.

“There are civil remedies,” Lewis said.

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