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Police ticket quotas soon to be illegal

Manar

Manar

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Updated: July 16, 2014 6:38AM



Municipalities that impose ticket quotas on police officers to generate revenue soon may have to end the practice.

Gov. Pat Quinn is expected to sign legislation that would make ticket quotas illegal.

“Law enforcement officers should have discretion on when and where to issue traffic citations and not be forced to ticket motorists to satisfy an arbitrary quota system,” Quinn spokesman Dave Blanchette said.

Senate Bill 3411 is sponsored by state Sen. Andy Manar, D-Bunker Hill, who said ticket quotas have not been addressed previously, partly because municipal officials denied that they existed.

“I think you would be hard-pressed to find an elected official to admit to that,” Manar said of quotas. “I think we can logically say that is realistically happening today in many parts of the state.”

Inquiries under Illinois’ freedom of information law resulted in some Southland police departments denying having ticket quotas.

“You’re going to hear a lot of bitching (about quotas), they’re coming from the mouths of people who resent police administration,” New Lenox Police Chief Bob Sterba said.

Sterba has been a police officer since 1977 and admits that he likely did some complaining himself about quotas over the years.

New Lenox police use a point system to evaluate a police officer’s productivity, such as six points for a felony arrest and or 1.25 points for a traffic stop, whether or not a ticket was issued. Sterba said only 17.8 percent of traffic stops in the village result in a written ticket. He said the evaluation system was worked out with the police union.

Sterban said the no-quota bill “will have no impact on the New Lenox Police Department.”

The proposed law also prohibits comparing officers on performance evaluations based on the number of tickets they write.

“In reality, there are no two shifts that are the same with the same conditions or the same circumstances,” Manar said. “There are more effective tools today to evaluate a sworn officer,” such as GPS technology and an officer’s number of interactions or stops rather than the number of tickets issued.

The senator said he did not have solid data as to how many police departments in Illinois impose ticket quotas, either publicly or secretly. He said he proposed the bill after being lobbied by the Illinois Fraternal Order of Police.

“Quotas turn police officers into tax collection machines instead of professional law enforcement officers,” according to the FOP’s website, www.FOP.org



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