10/25/2006Michigan: Police Use Loophole to Impose Ticket Quotas
Michigan police officials evade a law against traffic ticket quotas to ensure a steady stream of citations.
Police management in the Michigan cities of Oak Park, Rochester and Trenton use a loophole to impose ticket quotas that ensure officers bring in a steady stream of citations. In these areas, officers are given a target number of how many citations they must give, but because this is labeled as a "performance standard" it evades a law banning explicit quotas.
In Trenton, for example, an officer that fails to write fifteen tickets a month will receive a poor review, which limits pay and promotion opportunities. Police Chief Rick Newsome admitted to the Detroit News that officers are telling motorists that, "The chief is making me write tickets" before handing over a citation.
"When I was hired 20 years ago, this was about taking pride in your job, fighting crime, but now tickets seem to be the focus of our existence," Trenton Police Sergeant Richard Lyons told the News.
Oak Park officers must make a traffic stop every twelve-hour shift and issue a citation every other day. In Rochester, the quota is three traffic stops and 1.5 tickets issued every eight-hour shift.
"It limits our discretion, especially toward the end of the month; if an officer hasn't met quota, cars will be stopped for any and everything, because they don't want to be written up or suspended," Rochester Police Union President Keith Harper told the News.