Thursday, January 24, 2008

Me Thinks They Doth Protest Too Much

HB 264 is seeking to ban traffic ticket quotas by local and state law enforcement agencies. The Utah Chiefs of Police Association and many of the agencies are adamantly against this bill. They all claim that no such quota system exists, so there isn't a need for this bill. Yet, there is evidence that they do exist and officers are reluctant to publicly say that a quota system does exist.

Rep. Carl Wimmer, however, refuted the denials:

"I worked for a police department and had to write three tickets every day. That was a quota, and they exist."

In addition, a number of agencies have admitted that they factor the number of tickets issued by an officer into their performance evaluation. While maybe not strictly a quota, sounds too close to one to me -- if you don't write a sufficient number (What is a sufficent number? An average number per day? Per week? Per month?) then they get marked down on their evaluation.

Val Shupe, South Ogden police chief, seems to misunderstand the legislation:

"When you tell someone to go enforce the law at 40th and Washington, you are telling them to go down there and issue citations," Shupe said. "This law would prevent me from doing that."

But that isn't true. There is nothing that says you can't write tickets. Or that says you can't write as many as you need to. You just can't have a quota. If you don't have a quota system and you're not thinking about having citation quotas, this bill shouldn't be a big concern for you.

No comments: