9/11/2007Texas: Ticket Quota Memo Uncovered
A written traffic ticket quota is uncovered in Midlothian, Texas.
Police officers in Midlothian, Texas received a written memo ordering them to issue twenty traffic citations each month. With more revenue, police officials believed they would be able to expand the small department. WFAA-TV in Dallas confirmed the quota's existence through unnamed department sources, marking the second time this year a numeric traffic ticket quota has been uncovered in Ellis County.
Under Texas law, a city "may not establish or maintain, formally or informally, a plan to evaluate, promote, compensate, or discipline a peace officer according to the officer's issuance of a predetermined or specified number of any type or combination of types of traffic citations."
The Midlothian Police sergeant who issued the order is still on the force, but the city's new police chief claims the quota is no longer in effect. Allegations regarding Midlothian's ticket quota first surfaced in the Ellis County Observer, which has also covered quotas in nearby Red Oak. The Red Oak police chief and deputy chief both lost their job over the focus on generating citations, but an investigator hired by the city denied the quota system ever violated Texas law.
"The general consensus of opinion is that the overall direction of the department has shifted from one of law enforcement and protection of the citizens to one of generating revenue from traffic citations," Investigator Sherman Baxter wrote in a March memo to the Red Oak mayor. "I do not feel that these things constitute establishing a quota system as described in the Texas Transportation Code."