7/6/2006Utah: City Ties Police Raises to Ticket Writing
Police will double the number of traffic tickets issued in Ogden, Utah in order to receive performance pay increases.
Last month, the Ogden, Utah City Council voted 5-1 to require individual police officers to achieve a certain score on a performance evaluation in order to receive a merit increase -- and the primary method of increasing one's evaluation score is to issue more traffic tickets. Under the new plan, traffic officers could almost guarantee a raise by doubling the number of tickets they write from 50 to 100 a month. The extra ticketing is designed to fund a new city justice court that is expected to generate $132,333 in annual profit within five years.
"It turns us into revenue generators," Sergeant Troy Arrowsmith, a police union representative, told the Salt Lake Tribune newspaper. "We had a hard time with that quota before, and now they want us to write more. In cases where you would normally just issue a warning, now this will force us to give citations."
Ogden Police Chief Jon Greiner denied that doubling the number of tickets written would generate additional revenue. Instead, he says that he is merely imposing "standards."
"It's absolutely false to think that writing a few more tickets will create any more revenue," Greiner told the Tribune.
"Guess what a police officers job is: write tickets," Greiner told KSL Newsradio. "This is about having a job. If this is the job you want to have, then show up and do the job. If you don't then I'll have to find someone else to do the job."
Ninety percent of Ogden police officers failed to show up to work on June 23 to protest the new performance standard approved by the city council. Last year, the department was asked to issue 20,000 citations. The new plan calls for 40,000 citations generating about $3.3 million in revenue.