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: 282

Tags: police, speed, speeding, tickets, traps

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 archaeopteryx on June 28, 2013 at 3:20pm

Nixon initiated the "No Knock" law, as well as the "Hot Tip" law, under which, an officer could say he had a "hot tip" that you had committed a crime, and did not have to reveal the source of his tip. Of course, you're released if no charges are filed against you, but in some communities, police are allowed to hold you for up to 72 hours without filing charges, meaning you can't bond out, as you haven't been charged.

I was once picked up, the officer confided to me later, because I was driving a car with out of state plates and wearing sun glasses at night - the car was a rental, and you don't get to choose your license plates, and the sunglasses were prescription, I had been out later than intended, and had neglected to take my clear glasses with me. I spent three days in jail, participated (unwillingly) in two line-ups, had my rental impounded, which I ultimately lost, as I had no intention of paying the impound fee, and basically, my credit seriously damaged, because an idiot officer thought he was onto the crime of the century.

Many police officers bend the law as much as it will tolerate, giving them more incentive to do so, just to keep them out of Krispy Kreme, is ridiculous.

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.

Comment by Gregg R Thomas on June 29, 2013 at 10:53am

@Strega:

Oh come on, one little caning what's the harm?  Even if you haven't broken the law yet, you probable will in the future, so consider this Paying It Forward. :D

Comment by Strega on June 29, 2013 at 11:07am

Not likely to break the law on the driving front Gregg - I've never driven.

Slightly more serious note, however, why did you say that Singapore cannot be compared to the USA or the UK?

Comment by archaeopteryx on June 29, 2013 at 11:43am

RE: "I've never driven" - Aw, you beat me to it! I was breaking my neck (well, my fingers) to impart that startling revelation! M'lady here, has a DRIVER - la de freakin' da - but I'd steer clear of that coach, come midnight --

Comment by Unseen on June 29, 2013 at 11:46am

So, our friendly witch, when do you plan to start driving?

Comment by Strega on June 29, 2013 at 11:54am

Laughs, I plan it constantly.  I just haven't converted the plan to activity.  I mean, you just wiggle the steering wheel from side to side and press a lever or two with your foot, don't you?  What could possibly go wrong?  Any day now, I'll be parking up my broomstick and giving it a go...  Any day now...

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