Jun 25
Who Is Policing The Police?
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Saturday, 27 March 2010 00:03
Did you know that police departments are partially funded by their own ticket enforcement program. In case you haven't paid close attention to the news, were are in the worst economic shape since the depression. Included in this recession are state and local governments that are looking for ways to cut back. One of the suggested ways is job cuts and demotions. Police are part of local government and being on this bandwagon are no exception to the rule. They have been faced with budget cuts and are looking to also lay off officers as a result of budget cuts.

It should come as no surprise that one way to counteract the layoffs is to generate more revenue for the departments. Departments looked at new ways to generate revenue but the tried and true method for departments has been citations. This is a billion dollar industry country wide and has nothing to do with public safety. Sure citations deter some behavior, but that can be accomplished through other means. Driver education and safety programs could solve some of the safety issues but that will not generate the money as quick cash from the public's pockets. This comes from the publics wallet and is easily converted to instant asset generation.

Police officer's have what is called "officer's discretion". Officer's discretion means an officer has a right to enforce the spirit of the law or the letter of the law using his judgment. Traffic enforcement should be at the discretion of the officer to enforce the law but the officer's discretion is being taken away from him. Other officers are being told by their respective agencies to write more tickets so a squad averages can be achieved. You see, was once called a quota is now called squad averages. As a former Arizona State Trooper of 20 years, we were told keep up with our weekly averages or we would be written up for poor performance. We would be compared to the rest of the squad and our weekly performance evaluations were compared to the rest of the squad. The commander would set the weekly ticket quota for an acceptable number and the officer would be required to write that amount of tickets. On my particular squad, we were to stop 40 cars per week and write a minimum of 20 tickets. If you wrote under the 20 tickets, you would be red flagged on your weekly performance evaluation. There would be a note in red on the evaluation to pick up the pace because your performance is substandard. If you continued to get substandard evaluations, the next step would be probation. They would put you on a six month probationary period that could result in termination. If you didn't start writing 20 tickets a week, you would be fired for substandard performance. Oh, yeah, the officers would be required to also, take required emergency calls in performance of his duties in addition to filling his quota.

Has is come to you yet? Did you see anywhere that "public safety" was the main concern for writing more tickets. Of course you did not see it. Nowhere was it mentioned to any officer that the reason we write tickets is for public safety. We were to be ticket writing robots and absolutely had no officer discretion when it came to ticket writing ratios. You see, I would personally write 5 tickets a week out of 40 stops and I was told numerous times this was unacceptable. We were given written warning books but sometimes that would be taken away from us leaving the individual officer only the option to write the public tickets. I believed giving Joe citizen a warning versus writing a ticket would increase public safety and improve community relationships. I like helping people and educating them also about traffic safety. To further take away police discretion, the patrol cars and the officers were wired up to record the traffic encounter.
We were told that was protect us and in some cases it did. But the main untold reason was to give big brother more ways to monitor our performance.
Your see, less officer discretion and strained police budgets result in more ticket revenue generation. It come in a guise of public safety but really does not save lives. This does not include the court's involvement who are also dependent of ticket revenue generation. Why do you think there is traffic court? To streamline revenue generation. The point I'm trying to make is sometimes it isn't the officer's fault writing the public a traffic ticket. The public should be on guard and drive safely. They should not be dependent on the watch guards to keep us safe,
but reliant on them own selves to drive safely and avoid tickets. Furthermore, the police should be given back more discretion in applying the law and not dictated by budget restraints resulting in a higher ticket ratio.

Traffic law should be enforced with absolute officers discretion and no quotas should dictate officer's performance. Who's policing the police to make sure citizens are not subjected to this type of law enforcement. There are some internal affairs investigations, but usually the good officer's get burned by this. Civilian review boards are good but the do not have the training and background to really evaluate an officer's performance.

These problems stated above are not going to be resolved anytime soon so what should the public do to defend themselves. Educate yourself with traffic laws and criminal laws. This does not mean you have to get a law degree or the like. It means know your rights as a citizen! Read civil rights journals and law enforcement bulletins at your public library. Ask local law enforcement for help if you have any questions about your particular situation. Most good officers would love to share their knowledge with you as I have with many people. Lastly, find books that
specially cover traffic enforcement and how to beat traffic tickets. There are many of them out there but I have found a great one that covers many areas of speeding and other moving violations. You see, knowledge restores the balance of power back to the public. Don't go unprotected in this day of bad economic times. You will fall prey to budget restrained police departments and courts dependent on your hard earned cash to get them out of the hole.

May god bless and enlighten you to seek the way, the truth and bring happiness in your life. Take back control and power in your life and never accept what is unacceptable!

By: gaonagetu

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Last Updated on Saturday, 27 March 2010 00:04