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11/1/2005
California, Tennessee Ticket Quotas Uncovered
Police officers in Fairfield, California and Nashville, Tennessee speak out against ticket quotas.

WKRN quota logoPolice officers are speaking out against ticket quotas in Tennessee and California. On Monday, officials in the Northern California city of Fairfield fired Sergeant Tony Ford Monday after he was accused of leaking an email about the city's ticket quota to a Sacramento television station.

Ford lost his job after 21 years of service. He says he is being made a scapegoat. "I didn't call Fox 40," Ford told the Daily Republic newspaper. "Somebody else did. This is embarrassing and frustrating."

The July 5, 2004 email from Captain Tom Giugni to his lieutenants complained about the low number of traffic citations, citing the numbers of tickets each officer issued.

"Why are these officers writing so few traffic tickets and what can we do to get them to write more tickets?" Giugni asked.

Because California law prohibits punishing police officers over the number of citations issued, Fairfield Police Chief Bill Gresham has denied the department uses any ticket quotas. John White, who retired as a sergeant four years ago, disputes this claim saying that those who didn't issue enough tickets were labeled "red" and punished while those who wrote a large number of tickets were labeled "green" and rewarded. The city of 100,000 earns $494,000 from traffic fines and $62,000 from parking tickets each year.

In Nashville, Tennessee the police union, Teamsters Local 327, asked two hundred officers whether they were being punished for not writing enough tickets. "Dozens" responded that there was indeed a ticket quota in place.

"There's a joke in Nashville -- if you're going to commit a home burglary, don't speed away from the crime scene," union spokesman Jesse Case told WKRN News. "You'll get away with the home burglary."

Robberies are up 17 percent in Nashville, and homicides are up 68 percent as the amount of effort spent on traffic citations has helped boost ticket numbers by 19 percent over last year. The police chief denies the existence of a ticket quota.

Source: Police deny ticket quotas, despite e-mail discussion of them (Fairfield, CA Daily Republic, 11/1/2005)

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