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Author Topic: Do monthly ticket quotas exist?
DawnStorm
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Or does it depend on your locale?

[ 25. January 2006, 02:38 AM:   snopes ]

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RichardM
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Ticket quotas are expressly prohibited by Texas law for all enforcment agencies within the state.
Richard

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StillandSilent
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Not Exactly. The way it was explained to me, was that each officer has to show they did a certain amount of things each month, whether it is helping stranded moterists, DUI's or speeding tickets. If things have been really slow for stranded motorists and DUI's, they tend to make up the slack by writing more tickets. I was told this in the defensive driving course (That I got sent to after getting one of those end of the month speeding tickets) by a retired highway patrolman. I'm in North Carolina if that matters.
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Quack
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quote:
Originally posted by RichardM:
Ticket quotas are expressly prohibited by Texas law for all enforcement agencies within the state.
Richard

The same with the NYPD. Now, let's get back to reality. [Big Grin]

My brother in an NYPD Sergeant with 15 years on the job. While it's true that the word "quota" is verboten and never to be mentioned, they do in fact exist. In the NYPD they are called "performance goals" and they are based on your precinct and sector. For example, if you work in a quiet residential neighborhood in Queens, an active cop may be expected to have five moving violations and 30 parking/inspection type violations a month. In a ghetto precinct where "quality of life" violations are more common, an officer would be expected to write a certain amount of QOL summonses, such as beer drinking/loitering type tickets.

There are definite consequences for not meeting these goals. A officer may find himself removed from his sector car and put on a foot post. A Sergeant whose unit consistently fails to meet it's "performance goals" might find himself transferred from days to midnights. And failure to meet goals will ALWAYS result in a poor yearly performance evaluation, which will dog the officer whenever he applies for a new detail or assignment.

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robbiev - singin' off key
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Not exactly a chow because it started off as a discussion about speeding limits, but the topic of quotas was discussed.

I can't find in TN law where is says quotas are illegal, but I have "heard" it (we all know that means nothing).

Based on what I have been told (I'm active in gun training, although I personally am not a police officer, I am very active with the police) there is no official quota in Memphis.

There is, however, a rule that each officer must be within a certain percentage of the monthly average, unless a particular officer was on some sort of non-patrol duty for some extended time (such as desk-duty due to an injury).

Also, each officer (or at least at one time they were) is required to check out a radar gun at least once or twice a month. No requirement to actually use it, other than the "average" thing.

Phew...also, each officer has so many days each month that he/she will perform "traffic only" duty. If there is a serious "all" call such as "officer down" or a bank robbery, that particular officer will be the last to respond.

It's been a while since I asked anyone about that, but I think the "radar gun" day and the "traffic only" day are one and the same.

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A Man of Wealth and Taste
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It strikes me as a matter of job security... having an official quota may be illegal (and probably is in quite a few places), but if you're a traffic cop you don't want to be the guy who issues the fewest tickets per month. Then again, that's pure speculation; I've never brought the matter up with a cop.

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FrogFeathers
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Small town Wisconsin- the police officer who pulled me over for running a red light and letting me off with a warning said they do not have them here.

Small town Georgia- my dear friend is a police officer in a small town near Atlanta and he says they do not have quotas.

I will ask him about the "fewest tickets per month" thing mentioned. [Smile]

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Mr. Baggins
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Try to look on the other side. Say you're the lieutenant in charge of 30-40 cops that are out on the streets. You trust them to do the right thing but... if a couple of them decide to find a nice, quiet alley to take a nap in their cruiser, or even if they go home and only come back at the end of the shift, how would you know?

Personnel control is a serious problem for most companies. Now, if the job involves being in the street all day, unsupervised and with no good way to measure results, well, you make do.

Not advocating quotas here, but if you are a cop on traffic duty, I would expect you'd see some speeding motorists. If you don't, I won't think that everyone suddenly became aware of the dangers on the road... Occam's razor would point to your lazy butt.

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Purple Iguana
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I used to work as a transcriptionist with the Illinois State Police about 6 years ago. I spoke with one of the Lieutenants there, and he said that it was... hmm, not "illegal" but he made it clear that not only is it that they DO not have quotas, but they CANnot have quotas.

What squad leaders and whatnot do is encourage the troopers to make a certain number of "contacts." A contact can be a verbal warning, a written warning, a ticket, motorist assist, etc. As Mr. Baggins says, it's just a way for them to make each trooper accountable for his/her day.

Although, any NE Pennsylvania trooper getting busted for not making their number of contacts just needs to cruise the I-80 in the safety corridor area. They'll wreck the curve! [Big Grin]

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Jenn
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quote:
Originally posted by Mr. Baggins:
Try to look on the other side. Say you're the lieutenant in charge of 30-40 cops that are out on the streets. You trust them to do the right thing but... if a couple of them decide to find a nice, quiet alley to take a nap in their cruiser, or even if they go home and only come back at the end of the shift, how would you know?

I'd probably clue in pretty quickly when they don't check in at the appointed times or when requested. I'd also clue in when checking the mileage that's logged when vehicles are checked in and out.

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quiltsbypam
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DB is a cop in a city in upstate New York. When he was still fairly new to the force, he was called in and "spoken to" by his sergeant because he didn't have enough moving and parking violations.

Dad is a retired probation officer. During a training session is Albany led by a State Police officer, the question about ticket quotas came up. Dad said the trooper said there are NO quotas, but there are "station averages."

In DB's city, meter maids (and men) were told they have to write one ticket every 20 minutes. That's for parking tickets, not moving violations, but still.
http://www.thenewspaper.com/news/03/388.asp

quote:

"I want to trumpet this: there are no quotas for parking tickets," Richard Scheutzow, director of the city's Parking Violations Bureau told the Syracuse Post-Standard. "These are productivity expectations."

Yeah, whatever. I guess it's a question of semantics.

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Bad Actor
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All I know is that here in Philadelphia, the Police are suddenly writing a load of parking tickets for parking in a direction pointing against the traffic direction. This is mean as many of our streets have two way traffic, but only one side parking. They are litteraly walking up and down the street writing one ticket after another. Sigh, my son picked up a $50 ticket the first day this started.

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AnglsWeHvHrdOnHiRdr
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You can still park in both directions. You just can't drive on the wrong side of the street in order to get to a parking space.

People don't really think they can do that, do they?

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callee
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quote:
Originally posted by Quack:
My brother in an NYPD Sergeant with 15 years on the job. While it's true that the word "quota" is verboten and never to be mentioned, they do in fact exist. In the NYPD they are called "performance goals" and they are based on your precinct and sector. For example, if you work in a quiet residential neighborhood in Queens, an active cop may be expected to have five moving violations and 30 parking/inspection type violations a month. In a ghetto precinct where "quality of life" violations are more common, an officer would be expected to write a certain amount of QOL summonses, such as beer drinking/loitering type tickets.

There are definite consequences for not meeting these goals. A officer may find himself removed from his sector car and put on a foot post. A Sergeant whose unit consistently fails to meet it's "performance goals" might find himself transferred from days to midnights. And failure to meet goals will ALWAYS result in a poor yearly performance evaluation, which will dog the officer whenever he applies for a new detail or assignment.

Back in highschool my law teacher was a former police officer with a toronto area force. He described it in much the same way. They are not official "quotas" and the brass loved to emphasize that much with the public, but the reality was that you were expected to earn your keep, and those who didn't would suddenly find themselves assigned to the worst beats.

I mean, it only makes sense. Most municipal governments project the ticket revenue and budget that amount as expected income. I read an article once that surveyed small prarie towns on the trans-canada highway and some of them were dependent on speeding ticket revenues for over half of their yearly budget. Similarly, the city of toronto's budget depends on receiving several million from parking fines. When the government is dependent on tickets as a form of revenue - especially in this day of cutbacks everywhere you look - there is going to be a lot of pressure on the police to make sure that revenue is generated, and that, obviously, means handing out a certain number of tickets.

That's why a lot of this kind of law enforcement always struck me as a little two-faced. I mean, everyone really would love it if society changed so that the guys in homicide no longer had a job, but the same cannot be said about traffic cops. The government actually wants and needs them to be doing their job, because they need the revenue! If all those "stop speeding" campaigns they mounted actually worked, many governments would be in serious financial trouble. Given that, how sincere do you really think they are?

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AnglsWeHvHrdOnHiRdr
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I just glanced at some of the 608 pages of Nashville's budget, and I'll be damned if I can find where they've projected traffic citation revenue.

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callee
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Well, I can't speak for Nashville, but I did speak to Toronto and a series of small prairie towns. As for the former, the first google result I got was this budget report which has the following summary statement:

quote:
Budgeted revenue from parking tags is $70.6M, which includes annualized revenue of $6.7M
due to the additional 48 Parking Enforcement Officers hired during 2002. As of July 31, 2003
no variance is projected. Deputy Chief Mike Boyd, Policing Support Command will be in
attendance to answer any questions the Board may have.
The Board received the foregoing and agreed to forward copies to the City Chief Financial
Officer and Treasurer and to the Policy and Finance Committee.

Note how they even calculate projected revenue per officer!

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Dark Blue
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My department does not have quotas we just have to account for our time in legitimate police functions. If I choose to spend my time between calls writing tickets and warnings so be it. If I would rather patrol the down town area and keep the drunks in line thats fine too. Often we go call-to-call for most of our shift and spend little if any time in traffic or doing what we personally whant to do. If I've been slacking all month and get to the end, writing a bunch of tickets on one day is not going to get me off the hook. My daily logs throughout the month will reflect my lazyness and trying to catch up all in one day isn't going to cut it. I also know good officers who write less than 15 tickets a year, because they choose to utilize their time effectively in other police functions and that's ok. THey get excellent evaluations every year too. We also have a traffic division, but pretty much the same applies to them except that because they are traffic officers they are expected to utilize their time in between traffic calls in traffic enforcement. They still don't have quotas, averages or anything that is the same by a different name, they just have to account for their time.

Not every deparment has quotas, either offically or by some other name.

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Johnny Slick
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As I pointed out in the other thread, what is wrong with quotas? In a given month, a busy stretch of highway is going to have a number of traffic violations incurred on it. If you require cops to catch 1% of those, maybe it'll reduce infractions there until they're catching 5%... but there's no way it's going to stop. There are too many people out there, and there's that tiny minority who will do illegal crap if they think they can get away with it that requires cops to, well, be cops.

Also, as mentioned before you have to have some way of demonstrating that your police force is doing something other than hanging out at the donut shop. Working at a call center with a lot of people in it, I can sympathize with the quota crowd. If you make it mandatory for people to check in at appointed times, some people will screw around until they have to check in. If you make them check in a lot, they'll still screw around in between check-ins and you'll probably end up hacking off the vast majority of the policemen who *are* doing their jobs. Requiring them to write X number of tickets at least insures you that the deadbeats are doing their job *some* of the time. That fleet management software that's coming out all over the place will help as well ("hey, Bob, according to your GPS your car spent 6 hours parked outside of Denny's yesterday... let's have a talk"), but there are still going to be those jackasses who do the absolute minimum they can get away with and who require their bosses to come up with ways to make them earn their paycheck. Maybe you won't see that in a rural county in Georgia because the boss in question sees everyone often enough to be able to ride the ass of the slacker, but even in a place like Seattle and its surrounding suburbs, people can and will fit through the cracks and find ways to fall into the rich creamy center of unwork.

I doubt police forces make that much money on traffic tickets anyway; once you take court costs, wages for the police and secretaries, and maintenance of the vehicles into account, the margin on a $80 speeding ticket is probably not all that high. Whining about quotas is something lawbreakers do, I am sorry to say.

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Quack
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quote:
Originally posted by Johnny Slick:
I doubt police forces make that much money on traffic tickets anyway; once you take court costs, wages for the police and secretaries, and maintenance of the vehicles into account, the margin on a $80 speeding ticket is probably not all that high.

First of all, municipalities must pay for police and secretary wages, vehicle maintenance, etc whether the police write tickets or not. It doesn't COST anything to write tickets, therefore there is no "margin", it is all income.

Secondly, an $80 speeding ticket? Here in NYC, a speeding ticket can range from $250 to $400, depending on how fast you're going. A simple parking ticket can range from $75 to $250. Passing a parked school bus that has it's lights flashing? $750. Multiply those numbers by the 30,000 or so NYPD officers. The amount of revenue they bring in is enormous.


quote:
Whining about quotas is something lawbreakers do, I am sorry to say.
Not always the case, I'm sorry to say. I take responsibility for my actions, and expect others to do the same. However, a lot of "iffy" tickets are given at the end of the month in this city. That yellow light that you go through without a ticket on the 3rd of the month may look a lot more red to a cop short of his quota on the 31st. It can and does happen.

The fact that the city depends on cops to provide these funds which are vital to the city budget may not be conducive to fairness to motorists.

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chiefs_lady
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Having lived in several different states - Maryland, Virginia, Tennessee, California, and New Mexico - and having had police-officer friends in all places, the consensus is that the monthly "quota" for each traffic officer is "one ticket more than he wrote last month." That may not be a "quota" as set out by the powers on high, but that is the goal that traffic officers are asked to aspire to, FWIW.

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DawnStorm
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quote:
Originally posted by callee:
[QUOTE]Originally posted by Quack:
[qb] The government actually wants and needs them to be doing their job, because they need the revenue! If all those "stop speeding" campaigns they mounted actually worked, many governments would be in serious financial trouble. Given that, how sincere do you really think they are?

Washington DC proper (not the 'burbs but more and more have their own $-makers) has become notorious for their traffic enforcement. The public line is 'the cameras, aggressive ticketing etc is for safety!' but when pressed, I mean really pressed by local media, the DC govt will come clean and say, 'yeah, it does bring in revenue!'. I've heard that DC's Traffic Enforcement Bureau is particularly hard on MD and VA cars, but that could be a UL. While there are some areas--Florida Ave, where Galludet U* is located f'rinstance--that many treat like the homestretch at the Indy 500, the cameras, the esoteric and arcane parking rules and the random booting and towing are nothing more than money-makers.

*It makes a TON of sense to have aggressive enforcement around the only college in the country for the deaf/hard-of-hearing.

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InfraPurple
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quote:
Originally posted by Quack
Secondly, an $80 speeding ticket? Here in NYC, a speeding ticket can range from $250 to $400, depending on how fast you're going. A simple parking ticket can range from $75 to $250. Passing a parked school bus that has it's lights flashing? $750. Multiply those numbers by the 30,000 or so NYPD officers. The amount of revenue they bring in is enormous.

Wow! That's high. I had a 62 in a 45 cost me $88 in Parkville, MO (Suburb of KC), and that seemed pretty high for me. And way back when, I had a ticket at the University of Kansas in Lawrence, it was a whopping $2....

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robbiev - singin' off key
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quote:
Originally posted by Johnny Slick:
As I pointed out in the other thread, what is wrong with quotas?

I don't see anything "wrong" with set quotas personally, I just don't see a set number of tickets per month being necessary, especially in a large city. Merely to use my city as an example, there are soooooo many bad drivers here, I'm sure a cop could write tickets all day long if he/she wanted to.

I think the "monthly average" thing that I described earlier is a good way to do it, but that just MHO. If there is a quota of, let's just say, 100 tickets per month, a cop could go on a frenzy for several days, then the rest of the month, not do much (as far as traffic duty).

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Well here in Puerto Rico where I work there is no quota and you can go as long as you want without handing out a ticket. but as another poster stated no one wants to be the guy with the fewest and sometimes we make bets on who can give out the most tickets in one night (I pity the motorist those nights). But as far as official quotas none.

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Malruhn
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Robbie, most departments don't set "performance criteria" for the month - it is usually daily or weekly. A good friend has a rule that says there will be SIX "interactions" with motor vehicles per shift. These could be DUI arrests, warnings for broken tail-lights, or speeding tickets for doing 30 in a 25 mph zone... it doesn't matter, as long as there is record of SIX cars being pulled over each shift.

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Megan'sMom
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quote:
Originally posted by DawnStorm:
... While there are some areas--Florida Ave, where Galludet U* is located f'rinstance--that many treat like the homestretch at the Indy 500, the cameras, the esoteric and arcane parking rules and the random booting and towing are nothing more than money-makers.

*It makes a TON of sense to have aggressive enforcement around the only college in the country for the deaf/hard-of-hearing. [/QB]

Just a clarification, if a little off topic, I work at Gallaudet and have not seen any random booting/towing or unusual parking citations. I have seen a lot of people who deserved moving violations not get them. The DC parking enforcement cars now have cameras on top like the red light cameras so they can document the violations. Oh, and GU is not the only college in the country for the deaf/hard of hearing, just the best. There is RIT, a technical college in Rochester NY, and SWCID, a community college in Texas.

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Posts: 300 | From: Waldorf, MD | Registered: Jan 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Dorer the Explorer
Eagle Opportunity Employer


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I live in the 'burbs near DC and have friends on the force in several different countys/states. When asked, all of them have stated emphatically that there are no quotas.* Since 3 of the 10 people I know are, specifially, traffic cops (motor patrol) and they are the most critical of the quota idea, I feel I have to believe them. However, the "contact" idea makes more sense to me and falls more in line with what I've been told by my friends.

*The only one who hedged a little was the Capitol Hill patrol officer, who gave me the impressesion that he was just marking time.

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"It's nice that you're so confident in your opinion of others' morality"

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Troberg
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In Sweden, there are no quotas. Private parking companies may give provision to their staff for ticketing, but police and city employed staff do not. In fact, their task is not to ticket as many offenders as possible, it is to create a safe and working traffic environment, so they usually let minor infractions (ie not dangerous or hindering) slip.

The same goes for towing vehicles. As long as they don't pose a danger or blocks the traffic, the owner is given ample warnings and chances to move his vehicle before it is actually towed. Towing vehicles is costly and puts responsibility on the authorities that they don't want if it's not necessary, so the best solution for everybody is if the owner moves his vehicle.

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/Troberg

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DawnStorm
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quote:
Originally posted by Megan's Mom:
]

Just a clarification, if a little off topic, I work at Gallaudet and have not seen any random booting/towing or unusual parking citations. I have seen a lot of people who deserved moving violations not get them. The DC parking enforcement cars now have cameras on top like the red light cameras so they can document the violations. . [/QUOTE]


Thanks for clearing that up. I had heard on the news that the Galludet area was one of the problem areas as far as speeding goes.

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PhiloPharynx
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One addition - I have also heard a police officer who mentioned that there is also an "expectation" that essentially acts as the top limit on tickets. This is because a certain percentage of tickets go to court. If an officer writes too many tickets in a certain period, then they'll have to either spend a lot of time in court or a lot of people will get off (and a lot of money won't get collected)
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Latiam
I'll Be Home for After Christmas Sales


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My dad once got a ticket for parking too close to a fire hydrant. But it was in a suburban neighborhood, at 11:30 at night, and he was about 4 inches too close. It was pretty clear the guy was just on his way home.
Either he had a bad day or a quota and was driving around looking for anything.

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Technetium99
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When my dad lived in North Carolina in the late '70s the state troopers there freely admitted that they had monthly quotas. On the last three days of the month you would see highway patrol and police cars everywhere, and people frequently got tickets for one or two mph over the limit.

Just last year a scandal broke in Oklahoma City where a suspended police officer showed official documents to the press revealing that they had an official unofficial monthly quota system.

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Ulkomaalainen
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quote:
Originally posted by Latiam:
My dad once got a ticket for parking too close to a fire hydrant. But it was in a suburban neighborhood, at 11:30 at night, and he was about 4 inches too close. It was pretty clear the guy was just on his way home.
Either he had a bad day or a quota and was driving around looking for anything.

Or it was just that in case of an emergency access to said hydrant was obstructed, even if it only was 4 inches. You know, no one really cares for those rules - until there comes the day, when a fire car cannot get to a fire because of some car misparked "only a few inches". Or someone doesn't get out of office in case of a fire, because no one gave a damn about those stupid regulations about no furniture in the hallway.

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CPD 20
I'm Dreaming of a White Sale


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quote:
Just last year a scandal broke in Oklahoma City where a suspended police officer showed official documents to the press revealing that they had an official unofficial monthly quota system. [/QB]
In Oklahoma it is illeagal for a PD to have a quota.

The PD I work for does not have a "quota", but as it has been mentioned before, there has to be a way to evaluate performance. We not only track issued citations, but also arrests, written warnings, and verbal warnings.

Every job has some type of product, if you are a web programmer for a company you will be expected to to produce web sites/pages, for example. The product for a police department is public safety. We arrest the "bad guy" for murder or DUI or whatever, we produce the product of "public safety" by removing that "bad guy" off the streets.

Now many will ask what does speeding have to do with murderers. Let me provide you with some stats.

Stats courtesy of NTHSA

In 2004 in Oklahoma there were 774 traffic collision fatalities for the year.
41% or 315 were directly related to speeding.

If I as a cop pull someone over for speeding, write them a ticket, which in turn slows them down, I might have just reduced the figure above, which would also be a "public safety" product. Remember, not all of the people killed in a speed related crash are the speeding driver.

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Wild1
I'm Dreaming of a White Sale


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Odd that the second post came from Richard in Dallas, and he says they are forbidden by TX law. While that is true, a couple of years ago in Dallas, there was a big stink over some information that came out. Yes, there was no "quota", but officers were given "points" for different activities performed during their shift. Different activities recieved different point values. Odd to find out that things such as helping a stranded motorist got you almost half the points then writing a speeding ticket. The Dallas police now say that the system for points is no longer used. Hmm.

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W.W.L.R.H.D. -- He blinded me with science.

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