Bring those quotas to my street

A police patrol car whisked by me at about 60 MPH. You’ve seen it before. You wonder why the cops have to go 60 MPH in a 35 MPH zone. Surly they are not out to make the second part of their quota for the day. There is not an emergency that calls for a cop to go that fast.

Cars were hustling to get out of the way and I didn’t know what had happened, but I wanted to chase the policeman to see exactly where he was going. A lot of times it could be that the safety patrolman was on his way to back up another cop.

When my son got married in the side yard, we spoke to all the neighbors, one works with the sheriff’s department, yet at just short of midnight the police showed. Not one, but three cars. The celebration was over; not that it didn’t need to be over. Three cruisers – didn’t they have a quota to make?

Personally I have nothing against a quota, but isn’t two citations just too little? They could write five before 10 a.m. on my street if radar was set up near my house.

There are at least 14 kids within the first six houses on my street, although there wasn’t any until about 10 years ago, when my street became a cut-through. Drivers turn onto my street and because its entrance  curves, they gun the gas on the 25 MPH street. Before long the speed demons are up to 40 or 50 MPH. If a child was crossing the street in our turn-over neighborhood, going from old folk to young, the kids would be gone, dead, maimed, disabled for life.

When I’m out in my front yard, I wave at them, pushing my hands toward them in a motion indicating to slow down. That’s the time we need three cruisers lined up on our street. Their would reach their quota in no time at all. The rest of the day, the cops would be able to take care of other lawbreakers, the ones the 60 MPH dude was chasing.
As Cordner and Scarborough, “Police administration,” Newark, New Jersey, wrote, “the police function necessitates the use of discretion. The use of citation and arrest quotas essentially removes some degree of discretion that would otherwise be available to the officer.

“It is my belief that quotas are actually an archaic management tool based upon theory X which believes that employees are lazy and incompetent. Furthermore it conforms to autocratic styles of leadership that are not suitable to the roles, responsibilities, and discretion afforded police officers. Such leadership styles are best saved for individuals with low task maturity or for emergency situations. Generally, police officers and police executives agree that participative management is ideal; however, most officers believe their superiors lead in an autocratic manner. This is an obvious shortcoming in policing which begs to be addressed.”

As I wrote a couple of paragraphs back, it’s not a problem for me, unless a policeman gives me a citation. No quota when it comes to this guy.

I don’t know if quotas are legal, ethical or just a game the police department plays. At the end of the shift, do officers mark their take on a black board and compare their catch for the day?

“Hey Freddy, you didn’t put your catch on the board yet.”

“That’s because I’m letting the suspense build up,” Freddy said, “Six citations, read ‘em and weep boys.”

Less than a month ago, just days “after [the] Illinois’ governor signed into law a bill banning police ticket quotas, a similar move was afoot in New Jersey, to halt turning police officers into “revenue-generating machines,” according to Fox News.

“The bill in Illinois prohibits municipalities and police departments from assigning ticket quotas and evaluating officers based on the number of tickets they issue.”

The new law signed on June, 15. 2014 by Gov. Pat Quinn, a Democrat, Chicago Trubune, also stops police departments from comparing officers based on their quotas.

“Law enforcement officers should use discretion on when and where to issue traffic citations and not be forced to ticket motorists to satisfy a quota system,” Gov. Quinn said in a statement. “This new law will improve safety and working conditions for police officers and prevent motorists from facing unnecessary anxiety when they encounter a police vehicle.”

It had been one of the topics of conversation in Chesterfield last week. County Administrator James J.L. Stegmaier, was packing up for China and didn’t offer a definitive answer. Although I would say that  most sensible drivers would agree that a little more police enforcement, especially on side roads, collector roads and cut-throughs would not be a bad idea. Just don’t abuse it. After some states have made it illegal to enforce quotas, it could allow Chesterfield to get ahead of the speed trap curve.

But, as I keep saying, keep the quotas in place, just send the radar police to my street.  


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