NYC Police Department Pushes Traffic Ticket Quotas (VIDEO)

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February 10, 2011

NYC Police Department Pushes Traffic Ticket Quotas

It happens in police departments all across America. Our police – who we desire and support often get lost in their duties. Budgets, political pressures, “Productivity Goals” often cause our protectors and heroes to actively work against us: “Joe Citizen” – their biggest supporters…

Why is this important? Because – if true – many Traffic Citations may in fact be because of “pressure” and what is “normal driving” given the weather and road conditions was singled out for all the wrong reasons. IT BECOMES PERSONAL when you get a serious ticket that may add $1,000’s of dollars of increased burden to your family budget for 3, 5 or 7 years to come. Maybe it is time to FIGHT THAT TICKET!

We all know a cop – and they are “good guys,” – so what goes wrong?

As an attorney often found in and around the halls of government I hear of the pressures that sometimes make some agencies forget their real purpose to protect and serve. It is simple. But yourself in a government administrator’s shoes – and you can understand it:

  • By directing an officer to write a certain number of tickets, local governments can get a more accurate forecast of their next year’s revenue for budget purposes.
  • Without a quota, there’s no telling how much traffic-related offenses will bring in — an uncertainty many municipal officials loathe.

In this New York scandal, a police memo published by the Daily News shows unequivocal evidence that the New York City Police Department uses traffic ticket quotas. This memo was reportedly posted in the roll call room of the 77th precinct and advised officers how many traffic tickets to write and the type of traffic tickets required. In most similar situations I suppose these would be less “obvious” verbal “suggestions…”

Interestingly, those EASY TO CITE and VERY FINANCIALLY-LUCRATIVE tickets were the offenses targeted: cell phones tickets and seat belt tickets were, by far, the largest portion of the quota. Neither of these tickets carry points and present a much lower safety hazard than, for example, disobeying a red light or speeding – but bring in millions of dollars of local revenue.

Apparently, this is not the first time that the NYPD has been caught imposing quotes. Earlier in 2010, a whistleblower cop recorded a supervisor in the 81st Precinct vowing to go after officers who don’t make at least one arrest a month.

In virtually all states, the law prohibits police from using quotas – or setting a target number for arrests or summonses during a specific time frame. The practice is deemed illegal because it places pressure on police officers to issue traffic tickets —even when a violation may not have occurred— and removes their discretion that we the citizens trust that our “protectors” are operating by to keep society safe from those who disregard the ACTUAL safety of others. Like many big police agencies, where budgets and finances seem to trump serving the local citizens, the NYPD has denied this practice for years despite evidence to the contrary.

NYPD Police Officer Admits to Ticket & Arrest Quotas

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