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Ticket quota prohibition runs into opposition

Monday, Apr 7, 2014

* Senate Bill 3411 was introduced in mid February. From its synopsis

Provides that a county or municipality may not require a law enforcement officer to issue a specific number of citations or warnings within a designated period of time. Provides that a county or municipality may not, for purposes of evaluating a law enforcement officer’s job performance, compare the number of citations or warnings issued by the law enforcement officer to the number of citations or warnings issued by any other law enforcement officer who has similar job duties.

* The bill has eleven bipartisan co-sponsors (including Sen. Kirk Dillard), but the Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police pushed back hard

The Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police is concerned about the negative impact on public safety that is likely to result if Illinois Senate Bill 3411 (SB 3411) is passed. While law enforcement executives strongly agree with eliminating the imposition of arbitrary traffic ticket quotas, the bill would also eliminate vital data-driven performance measures used to assist in the performance appraisal of police officers. Under the provisions of this bill, Illinois would stand to lose millions of dollars in federal highway traffic safety funding for DUI saturation patrols, restraint enforcement details and speed reduction campaigns.

If the bill passes, for example, an officer who refuses to make DUI arrests or who doesn’t write a ticket to a motorist for passing a stopped school bus could not be disciplined or have it documented in their performance evaluation. SB 3411 would intrude on the management rights of local law enforcement executives to decide what is in their communities’ best interests. Police Chiefs would lose their means to properly supervise officers using objective data that demonstrates that officers are meeting the expectations set by our communities.

* So an amendment was filed. The amendment expands the idea to the Illinois State Police and the state Conservation Police and adds this language which appears to address at least some of the chiefs’ complaints…

This [ticket quota] prohibition shall not affect the conditions of any federal or State grants or funds awarded to the municipality and used to fund traffic enforcement programs. […]

Nothing in this Section shall prohibit a municipality from evaluating a police officer based on the police officer’s points of contact.

For the purposes of this Section, “points of contact” means any quantifiable contact made in the furtherance of the police officer’s duties including, but not limited to, the number of traffic stops completed, arrests, written warnings, and crime prevention measures. Points of contact shall not include either the issuance of citations or the number of citations issued by a police officer.


- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Walker - Monday, Apr 7, 14 @ 9:46 am:

    Not the state’s business. Let the locals manage their own police departments, unless there are clear patterns of abuse or right violations.

  2. - Rusty618 - Monday, Apr 7, 14 @ 10:00 am:

    You can pass a bill like this, but the problem with any numbers game is that an agency may deny that it has quotas, because they usually it disguised with other terms, such as contacts or output.

  3. - Doi Chef - Monday, Apr 7, 14 @ 10:01 am:

    Hard number ticket quotas, i.e. number of tickets based on average may and undoubtedly lead some officers to use poor judgement. What may have been a verbal warning, will now result in paper of some sort. There needs to be some sort of measuring stick for under-performing officers, but ticket quotas is not the answer. That said, the unions need to get on board and help administrations deal with the slugs instead of always defending them at all costs.

  4. - A guy... - Monday, Apr 7, 14 @ 10:05 am:

    There must be a better way of evaluating and training cops than counting how many tickets they can write. If they have a quota and meet it by citing a significant increase in the last few days of the quota period, what does it say about the rest of the time? Are drivers trespasses synced up with their requirements? Don’t think so.

  5. - wordslinger - Monday, Apr 7, 14 @ 10:10 am:

    The local chiefs want to be able to put the arm on their coppers to write tickets because that’s where the money is.

    There are western suburbs where they will tune you up on everything once they run your plate and figure out you don’t live within the jurisdiction.

  6. - Plutocrat03 - Monday, Apr 7, 14 @ 10:11 am:

    clear patterns of abuse

    ummmm, requiring police to write picky tickets to fill a quota has been accepted to be an abuse of police powers….

  7. - Anonacop - Monday, Apr 7, 14 @ 10:17 am:


    Most other states have specifically outlawed quotas in any form because they figured out that ticket quotas do nothing more than turn police officers who should be most concerned about public safety and serving the public in REVENUE collectors. Studies have also shown that where ticket quotas are in place poor people and minorities are disparately impacted. Anyone who doesn’t vote in favor of this bill is giving “the locals” and police administrators a license to profile….

  8. - Langhorne - Monday, Apr 7, 14 @ 10:24 am:

    A solution in search of a problem.

  9. - Sunshine - Monday, Apr 7, 14 @ 10:32 am:

    Citations for seat belt violations, throwing cigarette butts out the car window, talking with a phone up to your ear, and smoking while transporting minors will be on a huge rise; along with coasting stops through stop signs, yellow light intersection encroachments, and picking your nose or scratching your ass while driving.

    Your local police force will be under huge pressure and their overall moral will suffer.

    A bad idea!

  10. - A guy... - Monday, Apr 7, 14 @ 10:37 am:

    ==== wordslinger - Monday, Apr 7, 14 @ 10:10 am:

    The local chiefs want to be able to put the arm on their coppers to write tickets because that’s where the money is.

    There are western suburbs where they will tune you up on everything once they run your plate and figure out you don’t live within the jurisdiction.====
    WS, Agreed. You reside in one of them.

  11. - GANDY DANCER - Monday, Apr 7, 14 @ 10:57 am:


  12. - Jim'e' - Monday, Apr 7, 14 @ 10:58 am:

    This sounds like a union bill, similar to the firfighter’s bill that makes minimum mandatorily negotiated. Its just another attack against management.

  13. - 47th Ward - Monday, Apr 7, 14 @ 11:00 am:

    It’s always a good idea to keep it close to the speed limit toward the end of the month. I don’t think there is anything wrong with quotas as long as the tickets issued are valid and you don’t have some nit-picky citations written just to make the number.

    If they do away with quotas though, somebody ought to rewrite the script to Glengarry Glen Ross. A.B.T. Always. Be. Ticketing.

    Donuts are for closers.

  14. - Ghost - Monday, Apr 7, 14 @ 11:04 am:

    Just to make this clear…

    The sponsors of this bill are up in arms over union employees and wages…but they are running a bill which prohibits management from ever making those employees do their jobs or meet performance expectations.

    This has to be the most union friendly anti-management bill in a long time.

    I would note that alw enforcement officers have the insanely and ridiculous pension plans that pay them 805 of their last days pay after only 20 years of work and small contribtuions… and now we dont want them to work either….

  15. - x ace - Monday, Apr 7, 14 @ 11:23 am:

    Quota’s and Grant Hire-Back Programs became a greed driven cancerous-like disease that torpedoed and infested IL vehicle code enforcement at State , County , and Municipal levels. Needs to be stopped one way or another.

  16. - trooper - Monday, Apr 7, 14 @ 11:32 am:

    Ghost, please provide the link to back your statement regarding police pensions. I do not know of any police pension system in Illinois which offer such benefits.

  17. - thechampaignlife - Monday, Apr 7, 14 @ 11:38 am:

    ===an officer who refuses to make DUI arrests or who doesn’t write a ticket to a motorist for passing a stopped school bus could not be disciplined===

    An officer refusing to enforce the law isn’t in question here - they can still be disciplined for that. An officer being forced to find some arbitrary number of lawbreakers is the issue. How can you penalize someone for something they don’t control - namely, how many people are breaking the law at any given time?

    Honestly, I’d like to see ticket revenue directed to the Red Cross or a similar non-profit to keep the revenue from incentivizing locals to pad their budgets or really do anything other than their job to protect the public. Obviously that won’t ever happen, though, since so much money is at stake and locals aren’t exactly flush with cash.

  18. - Wayne Bibliotech - Monday, Apr 7, 14 @ 12:23 pm:

    Today’s relevant poem:


    To give a ticket, to be somebody who will give a ticket.
    The recognition, the knowing. The giving of tickets for parking,
    jaywalking, rolling stops. Giving such tickets to oneself.

    The need to generate tickets. To give, to distribute, to deal out.
    To be able, to be permitted, to be allowed. To not be.

    To be somebody who needs to give something. Something that
    needs to be given. The need to punish oneself. The act of it.
    The need to act, to do, to give.

    The possibility, the ability, the potency. To be potent. To be
    somebody remembering, bearing something in mind: The Law.

    To be somebody who remembers The Law. To be a ticketer.
    Somebody who tickets. Who will continue to the very end.

    Who will continue till the end is reached.

    –Scott McFarland

  19. - Ggal - Monday, Apr 7, 14 @ 12:45 pm:

    One part of a police officer’s job is traffic safety. And traffic tickets are supposed to be written to reduce traffic accidents. Thus issuing tickets are used as a standard of productivity. How many other subsequent arrests are made from simple traffic stops? You read about major drug seizures from simple actions such as a traffic stop. How effective is a police officer who makes no contacts?
    Ghost-I think it is only the State Troopers who may have that pension benefit. The rest of the officers in this state receive no SS but they do contribute to medicare, 30 years of service will get 75% pension plus they contribute almost 10% of their salary toward the pension and they pay their own healthcare.
    And for those who see traffic citations as a good source of revenue for each department? not at all the revenue ranges from 10-20 bucks.

  20. - downstate commissioner - Monday, Apr 7, 14 @ 12:59 pm:

    Support the bill; the amendment sounds like it might be an okay compromise. Our local police write a lot of tickets-but not speeding tickets, they don’t pay enough fine money, but they write a LOT of suspended, expired, or revoked license tickets-which is fine by me.

  21. - Carl Nyberg - Monday, Apr 7, 14 @ 1:09 pm:

    Why not just require the municipalities to publish the quotas and requirements on the departments’ websites?

    Then allow the accused to introduce the information as evidence at trial.

    Also, require the police departments to report the ratio of resident stops/tickets to non-resident stops/tickets.

  22. - DuPage - Monday, Apr 7, 14 @ 3:04 pm:

    I think Ghost was looking at SURS (State University and Community College Police) maximum 80%. To get that they have to contribute extra payments into the retirement system. The 80% is the maximum limit, it is not what most will get after 20 or 25 years. To get to 80% they have to work 31.819 years. Since they get paid less then most police departments, their retirement amount does not seem out of line.

  23. - Formerly Known As... - Monday, Apr 7, 14 @ 3:47 pm:

    Speaking of police, the Sun Times is out with this: Chicago Police underreported number of 2012 aggravated assault and battery, audit finds -

    “About one-quarter of victims of aggravated assault and battery failed to get counted in Chicago Police statistics for 2012, according to a city Office of the Inspector General report released Monday.”

  24. - Precinct Captain - Monday, Apr 7, 14 @ 3:50 pm:

    ==You can pass a bill like this, but the problem with any numbers game is that an agency may deny that it has quotas, because they usually it disguised with other terms, such as contacts or output.==

    Quotas are bad law enforcement no matter what you call them (contacts, quotes, whatever), but it is great to have a record of such things no matter what it is called (an example is the wealth of data used to prove racist and unconstitutional policing in Floyd v New York). However, it is the idea behind quotas that drives false arrests, illegal searches, etc.

  25. - cicero - Monday, Apr 7, 14 @ 7:42 pm:

    I second Carl’s proposal.

  26. - DuPage - Monday, Apr 7, 14 @ 8:38 pm:

    @downstate commissioner12:59
    They write a lot of suspended license tickets because they have a license plate scanner/computer that reads every license plate and lets them know about it. It also logs the information, so they have to stop and ticket them, or answer to their bosses as to why not.

  27. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Monday, Apr 7, 14 @ 10:03 pm:

    Quotas for tickets makes about as much sense as telling teachers they are required to give 20% of their students F’s.

  28. - Tommy Long - Tuesday, Apr 8, 14 @ 3:00 pm:

    Great article.

  29. - Gizman - Tuesday, Apr 8, 14 @ 6:21 pm:

    Waldo,FL is a perfect example of why traffic ticket quotas should be eliminated. Especially since approximately 80% of the revenue generated for the town comes from ticketing. AAA has put up signs to warn motorists about Waldo. Motorists that drive through there are the towns ATM’s.

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