• Ticket Quota’s: Why They Are Bad

Guy W. Midkiff

I viewed the 3-3-08 City Council Meeting and found the discussion on Ticket Quota’s very interesting. One of the council members took the city to task over the parsing of the words: “Ticket Quotas” and “Goals.” While the conversation whip-sawed back and forth, I “think” the Mayor and Police Chief actually admitted we have a quota system. The Chief clearly said that “quotas were not illegal in Missouri” which could only leave the layman to conclude that the City has no problems with the quota system.

Of course this flies in the face of the City’s stern proclamation that “Washington Does Not Have a Quota System.” I am left some what confused and bewildered and will try and upload video footage of the meeting so that you can decide for your self.

So, why are ticket quota’s bad?

Well, whatever name you give it, this system is bad for both the public and police. “The public receives unjustified tickets and increased insurance charges. At the same time, the police are harmed because the public has less confidence in them. There are better ways to evaluate the performance of the police.”

Quotas take officers away from other duties, such as patrolling communities, in order to generate revenue for the city.

Police serve in the sometimes tricky nexus between the rights of free citizens and the need for government to impose order. It’s a tough enough job without a city putting them in the position of tax collector. And public perception that police are, in fact, tax collectors is an even greater disservice.

I was taught long ago, though, if you can’t do or suggest better, stop you belly aching. So here is my solution:

Since drivers operate motor vehicles under a privilege granted by the state, let the cash penalties for violations of that privilege flow to the state, not to local city government.
This approach solves several problems at once. If traffic fines went to the state, all motive, and thus all suspicion, would be removed from local governments. A cloud of distrust would be lifted from police. Officers would be able to focus on enforcing the traffic laws. Motorists would have to face the reality that it was their own bad driving, not the greed of government, that earned them a ticket. And police departments could establish performance criteria without being accused of ripping people off.

Published in: on March 4, 2008 at 10:55 pm  Leave a Comment  

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