Do Police Officers Have a Quota of Traffic Tickets to Write?


Quick Answer

Although many police departments deny that traffic ticket quotas exist, evidence shows that some departments across the United States still "encourage" officers to write a minimum number of tickets each month, according to The Gainesville Sun. Revenue from traffic tickets often funds police departments, so officers are encouraged to write more tickets.

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Full Answer

In August 2014, The Gainesville Sun reported that five Waldo police officers told the City Council that they were given a quota of traffic tickets to write, which is a direct violation of Florida Statute 316.640. The officers were required to write 12 speeding tickets during their 12-hour shifts or they would be punished.

In May 2002, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported a 21.6 percent increase over the previous year in the number of traffic tickets written by the state police unit that patrolled the turnpike. To avoid illegal quotas, the officers were encouraged to write more tickets to maintain "station averages" or they would face unsatisfactory job evaluations. Quota systems pressure police officers to meet specified goals, and officers often stop people unnecessarily to meet these goals and to avoid punishment. This can negatively affect the police officers' reputations and relationships with the community by causing distrust and anger. Police departments can use statistics to measure productivity, but they cannot legally use those numbers as a reason to promote or demote an officer.

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