3/3/2008New Jersey Cops Sue Over Ticket Quota
Ocean Township, New Jersey file complaint against departmental demands that they achieve numeric traffic ticket goals.
Ocean Township, New Jersey police officers pressured by supervisors to achieve a specific traffic ticket quotas filed a grievance last week against their own department. With the support of their local police union, Patrolmen Les Laffan and Doug Willms suggested that negative performance reports placed in their personnel files may run afoul of a state law prohibiting numeric ticket quotas. The reports specified the exact number of tickets all officers must write or face disciplinary action including the loss of opportunities to earn overtime pay.
"Your motor vehicle enforcement must improve by April 1st to a rate that would have you meet the standard of ten summons(es) a month or your participation in voluntary duties with this department will be suspended and departmental charges will be considered," the reports stated.
The Police Chief Antonio V. Amodio Jr. defended the practice to the the Asbury Park Press newspaper and maintained his department has no quotas.
"Everything from parking violations on up, these officers were only writing an average of 3 and a half summonses per month, 40-some summonses per year, which we felt was completely unacceptable," Amodio told the Press. "The standard -- and I specify standard; it's not a quota -- the standard currently being used in the department is 120 summonses per year."
Ocean Township officials have been concerned about a seven percent drop in revenue from traffic tickets last year. In 2006, it raised $744,303 from citations but only $687,063 last year. The focus on increasing the number of traffic tickets has not resulted in any corresponding decrease in the number of accidents over the past seven years.
"When they start to mandate the high number of production to offset other revenue... that raises serious questions about which roads are toll roads and which are not," New Jersey State Policemen's Benevolent Association spokesman Jim Ryan told the Press.