12/4/2010Michigan Strengthens Ticket Quota Ban
Michigan House and Senate vote to eliminate loophole that allowed police ticket quotas.
The Michigan state legislature fought back against heavy lobbying efforts from the ticketing industry to adopt a more complete ban on the practice of quotas Thursday. Existing law in Michigan offers a loophole for police to be evaluated based on the number of citations issued, as long as the numbers are only considered as part of a broader set of criteria. The House voted 96 to 1 to delete the loophole, and the Senate voted 33 to 0.
"A police officer shall not be required to issue a predetermined or specified number of citations for violations of this act or of local ordinances substantially corresponding to provisions of this act, including parking or standing violations," House Bill 5287 states. "A police officer's performance evaluation system shall not require a predetermined or specified number of citations to be issued."
Existing law also continues with a ban on the practice of allowing police officers to retain a bounty for each ticket issued. Representative Richard LeBlanc (D-Westland) authored the bill after learning of widespread practices that undermined law enforcement.
"Some fear that the lingering state recession, which has shrunk funding for public services, may be an enticement for local governments to increase revenue by encouraging, if not pressuring, police officers to write more tickets," the House Legislative Analysis summary of the bill stated. "Such practices can undermine the public's perception of police officers as protectors and detract from the officers' mission to focus on public safety. Thus, some believe that an existing exception to the ban on ticket quotas that allows quotas as part of a police officer's evaluation system should be eliminated."
Earlier versions of the bill carved out exceptions for jobs such as meter maid and traffic cop where ticket writing is a primary function. Those exceptions were jettisoned at the last minute as groups such as the National Motorists Association raised an objection. The legislation will become law if signed by the governor.
A copy of the bill is available in a 25k PDF file at the source link below.