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: 295

Tags: police, speed, speeding, tickets, traps

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 Gallup's Mirror on June 28, 2013 at 2:10pm

Not so fast.

You're right. People do die from smoking (whether pot or anything else). On that, I spoke too fast.

Otherwise, there is no reasonable comparison.

I have seen statistics on the destruction, casualties and body count from motoring. I have not seen comparable statistics on destruction, casualties, and deaths from smoking pot. If any such statistics exist they don't make it onto the CDC listings of leading causes of death (which I see often).

We were discussing "harm" in terms of criminalization. The difference I meant to point out (and could have pointed out more clearly) is that irresponsible motorists are a far graver threat to other people and their property, not primarily to themselves as is the case with smokers (of pot or whatever else). 

If you could drive your car at 120 mph without being much threat to anyone or anything but yourself I wouldn't care (or I would care much less). This is why I have no problem with cigarettes being legal or pot being legal: smoking is bad for the smoker's health, but with some regulation regarding second-hand smoke, let people decide for themselves what to do with their own bodies.

As far as operating heavy machinery goes, see my comment above about driving while intoxicated.

But motoring? Even as heavily regulated as it is, look at the horrific killing, bloodshed and destruction that comes out of it. Not just the drivers, but other people-- passengers, pedestrians, and cyclists-- and other people's property. My friend is an ER doctor. He sees it all the time. Fractured skulls. Crushed limbs. Lacerated flesh. Smashed faces. Corpses bound for the morgue. Organs bound for new living bodies. The casualties associated with motoring outnumber those from the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq combined. It's like a war that goes on and on, every single day. 

How does the harm associated with pot smoking even begin to compare with that?

 

Comment by Dave G on June 28, 2013 at 2:44pm

Making it so the police officer directly profits from issuing tickets is just asking for officers to issue as many tickets as they can, justified or not, in order to enrich themselves. It's no different than the policies that allow police departments to confiscate the property of those involved in drug-related crimes, sell the property, and keep the proceeds. As a result, there are parts of some states where driving through the area with out-of-state means you run a very real risk of being pulled over as a 'suspected drug courier'. Your innocence won't help once they've confiscated and sold your car.

Comment by Gregg R Thomas on June 29, 2013 at 12:27am

@Strega:

All you really need is a good caning. :D

Comment by Strega on June 29, 2013 at 9:45am

Not me, Gregg, I have never violated a traffic law nor broken a speed limit, nor driven in any way in an illegal fashion in my life.

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