Putting an End to Speeding Ticket Quotas

Despite denial of any mandate that police hand out a certain number of traffic tickets each month, Illinois lawmakers recently proposed a bill that will outlaw ticket quotas by any city or municipal law enforcement agency. In addition, the bill bans agencies from evaluating officer performance based on the number of warnings and tickets each individual hands out in a given time period.

Though the Illinois Sheriff’s Association and the Illinois Chiefs of Police deny that the practice of ticket quotas is in place, they nevertheless protest the proposed bill, concerned that it will discourage officer work ethic. However, senators have advanced the bill without permitting any testimony by police.

Cop Writing a New York Speeding Ticket
A police officer writing a traffic ticket.

In New York, as in Illinois, it is similarly a widely-held belief that police are required to meet ticket quotas each month, despite New York law prohibiting ticket quotas and the NYPD’s repeated denial of the practice. Evidence, meanwhile, appears to substantiate the belief.

Statistics of traffic tickets handed out in greater quantity during the last days of the month tend to indicate that ticket quotas do, in fact, exist. Data from the New York Office of Court Administration also shows that many minor criminal summonses are dismissed in court on the basis that judges find the tickets were issued without a good faith basis.

Several newspapers have reported the claims of NYPD officers disciplined for whistleblowing, or for revealing that ticket quotas were in place in the precincts in which they worked. In 2010, the New York Daily News actually discovered memos posted in the 77th Precinct which called for officers to issue tickets of a particular kind in a particular quantity.

Whether or not police admit that a certain number of tickets per offense must be handed out each month, the evidence suggesting that ticket quotas exist means that drivers in New York and other states should be particularly cautious on the road as the end of the month draws near.


(Sources: http://www.wics.com/news/top-stories/stories/vid_15975.shtml; http://www.ticketdefenselaw.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/Reckless-Driving-Ebook-Final.pdf)