12/16/2007Texas: Gift Card Ticket Quota Canceled
The Dallas County, Texas Sheriff canceled a plan to offer gift cards to the deputies who wrote the most citations over the holidays.
The Dallas County, Texas Sheriff's office on Friday canceled a program offering Christmas gift cards with a cash value of $50 each to the deputies that wrote the most speeding tickets. Assistant Chief Joseph Costa created the program to encourage his deputies to issue as many tickets as possible to motorists over the holidays. Union representatives believed the program did not reflect well on the department.
"This is not bowling for dollars where we drive around and look to make a little extra money for ourselves by punishing citizens," Dallas Police Association President Glenn White told KTVT television. "It's basically a quota system because the next day you're going to come to work and want to beat the other guy out so you're going to keep raising the bar."
Costa purchased five gift cards from Academy Sports and Outdoors using his own money and had hoped to add other incentives such as a day-off "special assignment" into the mix. Each gift card was to be handed out to the deputy who generated the most tickets or arrests in a number of categories including speeding tickets, drunk driving (DUI) accusations and other arrests. The program was to run until January 7. A department spokesman claimed the program was perfectly legal because it did not set a "specific number" of tickets to write. Nonetheless, the department canceled the program after it was exposed in news reports that aired on KDFW and KTVT.