New Louisiana law outlaws ticket quotas

| 7/9/2008

Gov. Bobby Jindal has signed a bill into law that is intended to prevent law enforcement officers from going on ticket-writing sprees. It took effect June 25.

The new law, previously SB799, prohibits law enforcement agencies from evaluating, promoting or compensating personnel based on the number of tickets written or arrests made.

It also is now illegal for agencies to “require or suggest” that officers are “expected to issue a predetermined or specified number” of traffic citations on a daily, weekly or monthly basis.

Sen. Joe McPherson, D-Woodworth, said that although law enforcement agencies deny having ticket quotas, he has heard from police officers about the pressures to write tickets, The Times-Picayune reported. The problem is worse in towns that rely on fines to help support government, he said.

Critics say it will be difficult for officers to prove they have been treated unfairly.

A legislative auditor’s report released last summer appears to validate the concerns shared by McPherson and others. The report showed there were at least 15 cities that generated more than half their total revenue during a three-year period from speeding tickets. The top revenue earner was Baskin, LA. The northeastern Louisiana village claimed 87 percent of total revenue from speeders.

Three other cities also claimed at least 85 percent of revenues from speeding fines.

To view other legislative activities of interest for Louisiana in 2008, click here.

– By Keith Goble, state legislative editor