We all know that traffic enforcement in most cites and states of America is more for generation of revenue than public safety. Most police officers don’t go through the rigors of the police academy just to become armed tax collectors for corrupt governments. If ask why a city administration has lowered the speed limit in a certain area way below what is objectively a safe speed for that particular road or street, you will always get same answer: “We don’t enforce traffic laws for revenue. We enforce the law for public safety.”
Our BS detector immediately goes off. We know we’re being fed a load of crap. The lower speed limit is for nothing more than being able to ticket any vehicle traveling on that road. Most are safely within the flow of traffic, which will then be higher than the posted limit.
The National Motorist Association (NMA) often receives letters from police officers willing to verify that ticket quotas exist. Their names are kept anonymous of course. No one wants to bring the wrath of the brass on an officer for being honest.
Officer Frank is a police officer who wants to be a real cop, not just an armed tax collector for a corrupt government. He wrote to the NMA to vent his frustrations and get the word out. Of course, we already suspect every jot of it but we’re glad to have confirmation of what we already believe to be the absolute truth.
Officer Frank’s agency does impose a quote on officers to write a certain number of traffic tickets that produce revenue for his city. Many more cities do the same. All officially deny it. Here is an excerpt from Officer Frank’s letter to the NMA:
You see, the quota removes the individual officer’s discretion and forces him into an unethical position of simply generating revenue for the city under threat of losing his job, his livelihood. I worked very hard for many years to become a police officer. I earned an education and strived to meet the standards required for the occupation. During my time in law enforcement, I’ve earned my basic, intermediate, and advanced police certification as well. Yet all the administration cares about is how much money other officers and I make for the city. Many of us feel that the public good that we do is being ripped from us, and our lives are being placed in additional danger over the pursuit of revenue. It’s all about the money; even the mayor has indicated that fact in open city council meetings.
When I started my career years ago, I was one of those kids who was under the illusion I could serve and protect citizens. I thought law enforcement was about helping people. Unfortunately, I’ve been forced to admit to myself that it is simply not the case most of the time. There is a massive problem when a city’s police department spends more time issuing traffic citations (and locking people up for “failure to appear” bench warrants over twenty dollar seat belt violations) than proactively patrolling the neighborhoods.
At my department, issuing traffic tickets is counted as the only meaningful activity during an officer’s yearly performance evaluation. This is insanity as if patrol officers have nothing else to do such as responding to larceny, burglary, sexual assaults, vehicle theft, child abuse, suicides, armed robberies, dismembered bodies, and all sorts of other calls for service.
You can read Officer Frank’s entire letter here. You’ll also find a link where you can join the NMA. It’s the only national organization fighting for our rights on the road.
One of those rights must be the right not to have our pockets picked under the guise of legitimate law enforcement. The results of this corruption are much more serious than the cost of a speeding ticket. Our driving record affects much more than just a speeding fine. Insurance premiums can go through the roof and one’s credit rating is also negatively affected. Driving record information can even affect one’s prospects of employment. That’s a lot of consequences to have to take just to enable a corrupt government to dishonestly engage in policing for profit.
You can help by joining the NMA, it doesn’t cost much.