Thursday, January 24, 2008

Do traffic ticket quotas exist?

I just read a Salt Lake Tribune article (see here) about HB264 (see here) that would ban quotas for traffic citations. If you've read my previous post, you may think that this is a perfect example of the state legislature meddling in local affairs. This is different, however, because the state already limits the power that local police chiefs have.

Why all the fuss over the "Prohibition of Citation Quotas?" I believe the biggest reason for the fuss is that cities don't want to lose out on the ability to increase their funding through quotas. Anyone who has been on a City Council will tell you that fines and forfeitures is a part of the General Fund budget. Is it a big portion? Not relative to sales tax, however, it is a portion that would have to be made up elsewhere if it declined drastically. I saw this happen on a couple of occasions when I was on the Woods Cross City Council. We would see in our budget reports that fines and forfeitures were not keeping up with previous years. Invariably our Budget Officer would point this out and make a comment similar to "I've talked with the Chief about this." So what is a police chief to do when this happens? I suspect he puts pressure on the officers to write more tickets. How does he put pressure on the officers? That is a good question, but, I would guess that it involves a quota in some fashion. Do official quotas exist in all Utah cities? I'd bet not. Do un-official quotas exist in most Utah cities? I'll bet they do.


RudiZink said...

Normally I wouldn't impose myself by posting a link to my own website, without asking permission first.

Since you don't have the courtesy to post your own contact information, I'll make an exception.

I'm going to make an exception to this, because your last post id so danged lame.

In the instant case, I'll be audacious, and and post a link or two.

You, sir, are apparently oblivios the the existing system in Utah, which couples Traffic Citation quotas with Municipal Justice Courts, to shake down Utah citizens with lucrative random fines:

Ticket Quotas

With this infromation, we're confident you won't remain so uninformerd in the future.

Justice Courts

Thad said...

rudizink, it's a shame you didn't read my entire post. If you had read it, you would see that I'm obviously saying that traffic quotas do exist. Just to clarify my position, since you didn't want to read all the way through, I'm in favor of HB264. Next time, read the whole post before making yourself look so "oblivious."

RudiZink said...

Your summary paragraph said: "Do official quotas exist in all Utah cities? I'd bet not. Do un-official quotas exist in most Utah cities? I'll bet they do." [emphasis added]

With all due respect, your closing statement was quite equivoval.

I furnished evidence to prove that ticket quota systems do exist in Utah, and that in conjunction with the operation of justice courts, these systems operate as one of the most egregious citizen shakedowns in Utah.

This is admittedly a pet issue of mine; and I do hope you'll forgive me for my aggressive advocacy.

The state legislature has danced around this issue for far too long, in my belief; and I think it's time for Utah citizens to get off the fence and contact their legislators and urge their support for Rep. Hansen's HB-264.

Thank you.