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  • Curious what some of you LEO's think of this article

    The police enforce laws that result in direct benefits to police agencies and personnel. Judges hear cases in which a "guilty" verdict would have tangible financially rewards for the court and courthouse personnel. No other class of "crime" is as profitable for state and local governments as is that of traffic tickets. Traffic courts cannot be fair and unbiased when their financial welfare depends on traffic fines. Additionally, local government encourage traffic enforcement practices that rip off travelers to support local government services and to reward government employees. Yet these hypocrisies go largely unnoticed.

    A few simple changes can radically alter this unjust system:

    No court or police department should directly benefit from the collection of traffic fines.
    No police department should be permitted to rate its officers based on how many tickets they write.
    No local government should retain traffic fines. The money collected in local courts should be transferred to the state and returned via a local aid formula based on population.
    Link to whole article

    http://www.motorists.org/blog/corrup...-big-business/

  • #2
    Sigh

    I wish the people who write these articles would do a little research before they start blasting away.

    1. My agency issues thousands of traffic citations a year, yet it does not receive one cent in revenue from traffic fines.

    2, California law prohibits peace officer performance evaluations from being based on the number of tickets they write.

    3. Revenue from traffic fines in California is not retained locally. The manner in which it is distributed is governed by a complex formula found in state law that gives it to a myriad of agencies and functions. If you would like to try and decipher where every penny goes, check out: http://www.sco.ca.gov/ard/local/acct...guidelines.pdf
    Going too far is half the pleasure of not getting anywhere

    Comment


    • #3
      From what I remember, in PA the issuing municipality{Im just going to use CITY, its shorter} gets exactly 50% of the guilty verdicts fine, and FINE ONLY.
      that means, if I write anything other than speeding, thats 100%, red lights, stop signs, careless etc, the city that employs me gets $12.50
      Phew, thats a big money maker there considering if I go to court on OT that could be a big windfall of -$165. or so. the city loses $165.00 every time I go to court on a day off. Now its more if I was at top pay, its less for the new guys. It might even out if I had as high as 14 guilty tickets each time I go to court.
      Speeding is different, the city would get 100% of the fine, now speeding fines go from maybe $50.00 up to $90 or, the fines and costs involved add up to nearly $190 or so. The city would then get the entire fine amount BUT ive yet to see the judge say GUILTY AS CHARGED to a speeding ticket, unless he is a repeat offender.
      Now back to the first examples, the fine on any mover except speeding is only $25.00. All the fines involved add up to $108.50
      Or is it only $108.00 its been a few months since I wrote a mover
      I got nothing for now

      Comment


      • #4
        This is an example of preaching to the choir. No authorities are cited, no examples given. The true numbers cannot be known but can be very broadly estimated. Revenue is misstated as profit. Failing to do things the author’s way is evidence of corruption.

        It doesn't really mean anything.

        Comment


        • #5
          Just like in CA, here in WI state law probhibits an officer from being evaluated by the number of citations issued or have a "quota". However, an officer may be evaluated by how many "STOPS" not "CITATIONS" he makes. And thats simply showing hes active instead of just bummin around wastin time. As far as revenue, in Wisconsin several factors make up the bond amount on a citation, taxes, court costs, DOT trust fund, etc. Yes the municipality gets SOME, but its only about 10-20% of the bond amount. So on a bond of $160.80 the agency or municipality may see $16. yea wow....BIG MONEY MAKER...ive seen many articles like this and they drive me nuts. No matter what, the bottom line is simple ....obey the law...no harm no foul. People can sit and cry and point fingers and wet themselves over where the money goes, why citatins are issued and pull all he reasons out of their john brown hind parts for officers issuing citations. But it all comes down to the fact of the need for regulations...even with motor vehicles. IMagine if we didnt have speed limits, rules regarding using directionals, not stopping at stop signs or stop lights...just imagine,..what would be the odds of you or loved ones making it home from a simple trip to the store? Keep that in mind next time you read one of these articles

          Comment


          • #6
            In Alabama. fines for citations written by State Officers go to the General Fund of the State. Fines for citations written by county/municipal officers go the the General Fund of the concerned county or city. These are fines exclusive of court costs. Court costs are paid directly into the operating funds of the court to which the citation is directed. In Alabama, five dollars of the fine for citations written by State Officers, goes into the "Highway Patrol Fund". There is a relatively simple solution to the angst posed by the article's author. Here it is. Drive carefully. There are countless people who've been driving for years, and haven't recieved a single citation.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by rezrat192 View Post
              Just like in CA, here in WI state law probhibits an officer from being evaluated by the number of citations issued or have a "quota". However, an officer may be evaluated by how many "STOPS" not "CITATIONS" he makes. And thats simply showing hes active instead of just bummin around wastin time. As far as revenue, in Wisconsin several factors make up the bond amount on a citation, taxes, court costs, DOT trust fund, etc. Yes the municipality gets SOME, but its only about 10-20% of the bond amount. So on a bond of $160.80 the agency or municipality may see $16. yea wow....BIG MONEY MAKER...ive seen many articles like this and they drive me nuts. No matter what, the bottom line is simple ....obey the law...no harm no foul. People can sit and cry and point fingers and wet themselves over where the money goes, why citatins are issued and pull all he reasons out of their john brown hind parts for officers issuing citations. But it all comes down to the fact of the need for regulations...even with motor vehicles. IMagine if we didnt have speed limits, rules regarding using directionals, not stopping at stop signs or stop lights...just imagine,..what would be the odds of you or loved ones making it home from a simple trip to the store? Keep that in mind next time you read one of these articles
              Well.. I would agree with that wholeheartedly. But when you read threads like this one

              http://forums.officer.com/forums/showthread.php?t=88072

              Its real hard to take some of what you guys post seriously. I first started reading this board.. I was enthralled with the "us vs. them" menatility some of the LEO's seem to have and the way they treat ticketing. Instead of trying to improve traffic safety and improve road conditions some of the posts here make it really seem that some LEO's are just out looking to get anyone they can regardless of the insiginifigance of the offense. The fact is.. if you have to look that hard to find an offense.. should you even be pulling them over in the first place? Because for every guy you spend all that time "looking hard to find something" another guy just passed the other way weaving in and out of traffic yacking on his cel phone.

              The sad thing is that Ive seen quite a few posts where LEO's will even say "a few bad LEO's "make us all look bad" or comment on stupid laws that arent worth enforcing.. but do you ever do anything about it??? The police lobby is one of the most powerful entities out there.. why dont they point out some of these ridiculous laws and get them publicised.. you all might get more support if we knew you occasionally pointed these things out.

              I have to say.. living in Southern California makes one very jaded toward traffic enforcement personnel. The local municipalities are very corrupt and go out of their way to make driving as frustrating as possible.. in combination with Cal Trans (probably the laziest SOBs on the planet) driving down here is a real nightmare. The police appear to do or say nothing about the problems we have. You may say its not your job.. but you're kidding yourself if you think the cities listen to us. (beleive me Ive tried)

              Traffic light timing is non existant, ramp meters still on when there is little if any traffic, artificially low speed limits on surface streets or speed limits that do not reflect the road engineers assesment of the street. Left turn arrows that either dont work or are timed horribly, forcing you to sit and wait endlessly with no oncoming traffic. Many of the cities in San Diego will spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on "Cameras" but not a cent on timing the lights. They were even caught placing the sensor to far back and had to return 400k in fines because of it... and keep in mind the cities were just given a grant in the millions to time all the lights on their busiest streets. Of course.. to date.. not a cent has been spent on it.

              I know all of you drive civilian cars.. and have to experience the same things we do. Do you just forget about these things when you put your uniform on.. or are you truly just powerless to do anything about it? If fines and "revenue" really isnt the motivating factor.. then I would think many of you would be all over the city engineering staff to fix all these problems?

              BTW .. one of the reasons California drivers may be more jaded than many of the drivers in your own states is that our fines are usually 3-5 times higher for the same infractions that some of you have cited in your previous posts. So something you may view as minor and "not a big deal" will cost a Californian 400 dollars.

              (i.e. running a ramp meter even if there is ZERO traffic is a 375 dollar fine.. an infraction that has nothing to do with safety and is merely a social engineering tool, and while they claim to serve a purpose at peak traffic times, do nothing but cause back ups during low traffic times as people are forced to merge from a dead stop into traffic flowing at 70mph.. )
              Last edited by milo hobgoblin; 07-25-2008, 10:53 AM.

              Comment


              • #8
                More tickets = more court = more overtime = more chrome for the Harley

                Comment


                • #9
                  Sorry you are "enthralled" by the menatility of comments made on a forum by Police Officers. The great thing about the internet is you're not forced to agree/disagree with anything.

                  It appears you are of the mindset that an individual Officer can "improve traffic safety and road conditions". Please expand, how did you come to this conclusion ?

                  Understand that Officer discretion is a huge part of traffic enforcement. It is this simple, with the exception of flagrent or arrestable offenses, I don't issue people citations, they talk themselves into them.

                  The majority of criminal arrests are made off traffic stops. So, you may think that an Officer hunting for someone with a burnt out headlight or tailights out is a waste of energy. The reality is that person could've just burglarized a house, is DUI, or wanted. Pick one, I've arrested people for all the above offeses just because they had a headlight out.
                  Last edited by SgtD401; 07-26-2008, 10:47 AM.
                  -------------------------------------------------

                  They don't care how much you know, until they
                  know how much you care.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    In Tennessee, Constables are fee officers. As a result, they receive fees for the papers they serve, and arrests made. They do receive a fee for traffic tickets, a whopping $1. That is right, $1. Not much of an incentive for writing a ticket that may be contested in court. That would take the time away from the Constable who more than likely has a full time job to go to court for $1. Now serving arrest warrants is far more profitable, $40 for an arrest warrant, $20 for a civil process.

                    So this little example shows that article is full of it.
                    That's what they do, it's a trailer park.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by SgtD401 View Post
                      It appears you are of the mindset that an individual Officer can "improve traffic safety and road conditions". Please expand, how did you come to this conclusion ?
                      I believe that individual officer can "improve traffic safety" because I have personally experienced this.

                      My first post was to a rural county with numerous narrow, hilly highways. The post had not been staffed for several years and traffic enforcement was nearly non-existent. The local Sheriff's Office was understaffed and was constantly working motor vehicle crashes.

                      When I arrived I looked at the areas where the most crashes were occurring and started focusing my patrol and enforcement efforts there. The 7 mile stretch of highway was responsible for nearly every injury and fatality crash that I worked my first year. By the second year, accidents had dropped by 50% and there were no fatalities at all. By the third year, accidents were at an all time low (except for the usual car v deer, sleepy drivers etc).

                      I know that I made a difference in this area. It had nothing to do with fines or income for the court (none of it is kept locally and it is a very small percentage of income for the state). The agency is forbidden from giving us quotas by our FOP contract.

                      One individual officer focusing on a problem can make a difference- no question.
                      ---Cut the red wire---

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Tell every person you cite, "I need a payraise, you aren't paying me enough."

                        lol j/k
                        The sheep generally do not like the sheepdog. He looks a lot like the wolf. He has fangs and the capacity for violence. The difference, though, is that the sheepdog must not, cannot and will not ever harm the sheep. Any sheepdog who intentionally harms the lowliest little lamb will be punished and removed.

                        I Am the Sheepdog.


                        "And maybe just remind the few, if ill of us they speak,
                        that we are all that stands between
                        the monsters and the weak." - Michael Marks


                        sigpic

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by KAA951 View Post
                          I believe that individual officer can "improve traffic safety" because I have personally experienced this.

                          My first post was to a rural county with numerous narrow, hilly highways. The post had not been staffed for several years and traffic enforcement was nearly non-existent. The local Sheriff's Office was understaffed and was constantly working motor vehicle crashes.

                          When I arrived I looked at the areas where the most crashes were occurring and started focusing my patrol and enforcement efforts there. The 7 mile stretch of highway was responsible for nearly every injury and fatality crash that I worked my first year. By the second year, accidents had dropped by 50% and there were no fatalities at all. By the third year, accidents were at an all time low (except for the usual car v deer, sleepy drivers etc).

                          I know that I made a difference in this area. It had nothing to do with fines or income for the court (none of it is kept locally and it is a very small percentage of income for the state). The agency is forbidden from giving us quotas by our FOP contract.

                          One individual officer focusing on a problem can make a difference- no question.

                          I applaud your efforts. Congratulations on making a difference. It's nice that you have that kind of down time that you can devote to traffic enforcement.

                          In a urban area, unless the Officer is part of a traffic unit. it's just not realistic.
                          -------------------------------------------------

                          They don't care how much you know, until they
                          know how much you care.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by SgtD401 View Post
                            I applaud your efforts. Congratulations on making a difference. It's nice that you have that kind of down time that you can devote to traffic enforcement.
                            Nice sarcasm- even I caught it.

                            Traffic enforcement is my job and my career- as well as the primary function of the 500 other officers in my agency.

                            Just because I don't spend my time anymore dealing with barking dogs, loud music, parking complaints, lawns that are too long or neighbors hacked off about how the guy next door trimmed a tree doesn't mean I'm not a cop anymore.

                            Back to the primary question of the thread- My agency seizes more drugs and makes just as many felony arrests as any other agency in our state- all as a result of traffic enforcement. By the way- there are roughly 40,000 traffic deaths each year in the US and around 13,000 homicides. I work diligently to make a dent in both numbers...

                            It isn't about writing tickets to increase revenue here- it is about safety, period.
                            ---Cut the red wire---

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              I'm sorry I came across that way, I was sincere. We all do the same job and have the same goal, to go home at the end of the shift.
                              -------------------------------------------------

                              They don't care how much you know, until they
                              know how much you care.

                              Comment

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