Walmart Assigsns 2 Parking Spots To PoliceFeb 06, 2020 01:04PM ● By Virginia Dean
The decision is part of a nationwide movement by the multinational corporation that runs chains of large discount department stores and is the largest grocery retailer in the US. Its goal is to strengthen ties with law enforcement. The conglomerate has had a long-standing relationship with local police departments, according to its local spokesperson, Tara Aston.
The two police spaces in front of West Lebanon’s Walmart are adjacent to the handicapped spots and read, “Reserved Parking for our law enforcement partners”. There is a large blue light on top of the sign. The spaces were installed in the last few months.
Aston related that the spaces are reserved for on and off-duty officers alike, indicating that police who are in their personal vehicles, shopping for themselves can park there. Nonetheless, Aston said the new spaces will provide alternative parking so that officers don’t have to obstruct fire lanes when responding to calls from the store.
Although Lebanon police have expressed their gratitude to the retailer, the new initiative indicates that the West Lebanon store generates more police calls than any other business in the city, ranging from shoplifting to child neglect.
“We respond to Walmart more frequently than other businesses on the 12A corridor,” said Lebanon Police Chief Richard Mello.
Several local residents have expressed their disagreement with the store’s new policy while others believe it’s a good idea. Some believe the spaces should be reserved for the handicapped, for example, while others have stated that the spaces do allow the police to access the store more quickly.
Similar parking spaces are already in effect in the towns of Claremont and Woodsville. Aston said the chain intended to install similar parking spaces at each of its stores across the country by the end of January 2020.