If you think the officer standing by your car, bent over what looks like a calculator, is balancing her checkbook, think again. She's issuing you a ticket at the speed of light--with a hand-held computer. These newest weapons in the parking enforcement's arsenal have been sighted in Beverly Hills, West Hollywood and Santa Monica, and soon they will be everywhere.
For a mere $3,000 a pop, computer ticketers save time and confusion. Just enter license-plate number and location and wait. They have an internal clock (no time wasted checking watches), are programmed with street and zone indexes (no arguing it really was a three-hour zone) and they beep if the plate number entered has more than five outstanding parking violations. So is there no hope for those of us who just dashed into The Gap to get change, we swear, and come out to see Officer Friendly firing up his data base? "Well," says Sgt. Richard Brown of the Beverly Hills Police Department, "if our people are issuing a citation, we can--we don't have to, but we can--void the citation."
While the human units are still in control, that is