Attorney general's opinion: Police car fine in driveway

State Attorney General Charlie Crist Thursday visited a police officer whose Davie homeowner's association is threatening to sue him over the police car parked in his drive.


Article Courtesy of The Miami Herald

Published June 17, 2005

A Miami Beach police officer whose homeowner's association has threatened to sue him over the police car in his driveway received a boost Thursday from Florida Attorney General Charlie Crist.

Crist visited Kevin and Regina Millan in their Carlton Ranches home, where he hand-delivered a legal opinion supporting the rights of police officers throughout the state to keep law-enforcement vehicles on their property.

''We're here to protect the people who are protecting us,'' said Crist, who is running for governor in 2006.

At issue is whether police cars are commercial vehicles. Carlton Ranches bylaws prohibit residents from keeping commercial vehicles in their driveways, and the homeowners association has said Millan's patrol car counts as a commercial vehicle under Davie codes.

''A marked police vehicle does not constitute a vehicle with reference to a commercial undertaking or enterprise,'' wrote Crist in his opinion.

Crist agreed to submit an opinion on the matter after Davie council member Susan Starkey requested his intervention. Starkey has been an advocate for the Millans, working to clarify language about emergency vehicles in Davie town codes and sponsoring a Town Council resolution on the Millans' behalf.


''It's a benefit to have police officers in the community,'' said Starkey, who has been married to a Miami-Dade police officer for 18 years.

Davie Town Attorney Monroe Kiar also has said police cars should not be construed as commercial vehicles under the town code.

The attorney and spokesman for the homeowner's association, Randall K. Roger, was on vacation and unavailable for comment Thursday, but in a June 8 letter to Davie leaders he called Kiar's reasoning ''questionable'' and accused him of 'trying to `carve out' an exception for politically expedient purposes.''

The homeowners association has yet to file suit or levy fines against the Millans.

F. Blane Carneal, the Millans' attorney, said his clients are tired of waiting for the lawsuit. The association should take decisive action one way or the other, he said.

''We're prepared to defend this situation,'' he said. ``Either bring your lawsuit or walk away.''

The dispute has drawn statewide attention, and Kevin Millan said he's received hundreds of supportive phone calls and e-mails from around the country. Still, he said, he was surprised and impressed that the attorney general came by.

''It's not every day the attorney general comes to your house,'' said Millan, who dressed in his police uniform for the visit. ``We're hoping it's going to end this once and for all.''


Jeff Faulkner, an Opa-locka police officer who also lives in the 46-home west Davie neighborhood and parks his vehicle in the driveway, drove up in his police car.

''We're in the same boat,'' he said, though he would not say whether he has received letters and complaints from the homeowners association.

The attorney general said his opinion was not difficult to form.

''It is consistent with law and also consistent with common sense,'' said Crist, balancing the couple's infant son Vincenzo on his hip.