DEL MAR — Comely Diana Schwering has been walking the streets in the business district for nearly two decades.
Homeless? No way. She wears a badge and is the veteran parking enforcement officer in the city. Since she joined the staff in 1989, she has walked thousands and thousands of miles keeping an eye on cars and the length of time they have occupied a parking spot. Overtimers are ticketed accordingly. Diana also is an unofficial walking visitors bureau, responding to all sorts of questions posed by visitors.
Because of her cheerful personality, people have actually thanked her after being handed a parking ticket.
Veteran residents recall that Bill “Red” Thompson, a motorcycle cop in the 1930s and 1940s, also was held in high regard. He didn’t write parking tickets, however. There was no need for that because there were not that many cars in all of the village.
Thompson would park his Harley Davidson in front of the Del Mar Drug Store and chomp on a cigar as he watched traffic breeze by. That was before smoking was determined to be detrimental to one’s health.
He had the reputation, from Oceanside to Torrey Pines, of being a tough, no-nonsense cop behind the badge.
Hard-nosed? Not really. He would let kids crawl all over his cycle and push all the buttons. Kids loved him.
Tough or pussy cat? A story goes, although never verified, that he gave his wife a ticket for an illegal turn when she was on her way to their home on the hill to fix his lunch.
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