Should traffic cops pay be based on tickets?

From CNN: 

It's a theory many drivers have held since their first speeding ticket, that citations are somehow connected to a special perk for the officer writing it.

Now, a memo among Atlanta police officers has reignited such suspicions.

"The mayor has designated traffic court and ticket revenue for future pay increases," Atlanta Police Union President Ken Allen wrote this month.

Some residents scoffed at the idea.

"I'm probably going to switch from sales and join the police force in that case, if that's the way it's working," one resident, Ken Miller,told CNN affiliate WSB-TV. (more)

While some fear that tying pay to ticket-writing productivity, some believe there are very good reasons for doing so:

Tucson Police Chief Roberto Villasenor requires his officers to make an average of at least one traffic stop a day. He said many important arrests stem from traffic stops.

"That's where we get most of our narcotic arrests. We get a lot of warrants we've been able to serve," Villasenor told CNN affiliate KGUN. "There's benefit from traffic (stops) that have been proven in city after city. I'm just saying we can't forget that's part of our job." (same source as above)

I think most people drive over the speed limit a good deal of the time, so there's probably little need for the police to fabricate false speeding tickets and no doubt it has some effect, however small, on the speed at which people drive. It also leads to other arrests for more serious crimes.

So, why not?

Views: 281

Tags: police, speed, speeding, tickets, traps

Comment by archaeopteryx on June 28, 2013 at 11:46am

"There is no reasonable comparison between marijuana use and motoring. The former is harmless and should be decriminalized. Nobody dies from smoking pot and the smokers effect their own bodies."

I don't believe that's universally true. Smoking pot causes time lapses, as anyone knows who has ever smoked pot. Shortly after the last joint I ever smoked, I found it necessary to go somewhere, at night, on the freeway, to pick someone up - there was a car, a good distance ahead of me - I had a time lapse, and suddenly, I was riding his back bumper, that's when I tossed my ZigZags.

Comment by Gregg R Thomas on June 28, 2013 at 11:55am

@ Strega:

I suppose a public lashing is out of the question then.  Would never work either?

For breaking speed limit rules?

Comment by Strega on June 28, 2013 at 12:07pm

Laughs, they use the cane in Singapore for a multitude of offences - the strangest of which I think is for foreign tourists who overstay their visa periods.  Take a look at the wiki entry here - I linked directly to the salient part, but the entire page is interesting.  I also understand that it works quite well as a deterrent!

Comment by Gallup's Mirror on June 28, 2013 at 12:11pm

I don't believe that's universally true. Smoking pot causes time lapses, as anyone knows who has ever smoked pot. Shortly after the last joint I ever smoked, I found it necessary to go somewhere, at night, on the freeway, to pick someone up - there was a car, a good distance ahead of me - I had a time lapse, and suddenly, I was riding his back bumper, that's when I tossed my ZigZags.

It wasn't the pot that made you a deadly threat to yourself, your passenger, and everyone and everything around your vehicle, it was your motor vehicle and that you were driving while intoxicated: a criminal violation.

Do you think unavoidable signs of impaired driving (tailgating in your example) would become more noticeable to police if everyone else drove more carefully because of tougher penalties for traffic violations? I do.

Comment by Unseen on June 28, 2013 at 12:27pm

There is no reasonable comparison between marijuana use and motoring. The former is harmless and should be decriminalized. Nobody dies from smoking pot and the smokers effect their own bodies.

Not so fast.

First off, most of the time marijuana users smoke it. Putting smoke in one's lungs can't ever be a good idea. What benefit could it have for the lungs over and above breathing just fresh pure air?

Secondly, stoned can't possibly be the best way to operate heavy equipment. 

Finally, I hope we can agree that the American Lung Association, whose primary concern is in the prevention and treatment of cancer says this:

Marijuana smoke contains a greater amount of carcinogens than tobacco smoke. In addition, marijuana users usually inhale more deeply and hold their breath longer than tobacco smokers do, further increasing the lungs exposure to carcinogenic smoke. Marijuana use is not only associated with adverse physical effects, but also mental, emotional and behavioral changes.

People who smoke marijuana frequently, but do not smoke tobacco, have more health problems and miss more days of work than nonsmokers. Many of these extra sick days are due to respiratory illnesses.

Patients considering using marijuana for medicinal purposes should make this decision in consultation with their doctor, and consider means of administration other than smoking.(source)

Comment by Gregg R Thomas on June 28, 2013 at 12:27pm

@Strega:

Singapore is not comparable to the US nor the UK for that matter.

Comment by Gregg R Thomas on June 28, 2013 at 12:39pm

In my view incentivizing the enforcement of laws with the proceeds from that enforcement will always lead to corruption of the system.

Comment by Unseen on June 28, 2013 at 12:45pm

I agree that basically paying officers a commission for enforcing the law is a very bad idea. However, requiring officers to meet reasonable quotas in the case of certain offenses, speeding being one, is a way to make sure they are spending some of their time not drinking coffee and eating donuts.

Comment by Strega on June 28, 2013 at 12:54pm

@Gregg - true, but I do have an international sense of humour :)

Comment by archaeopteryx on June 28, 2013 at 1:08pm

-- as evidenced by the extraneous "u" --

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