Wyoming bill forbids ticket quotas

By Keith Goble, Land Line state legislative editor | 1/27/2015

Concern about law enforcement in Wyoming being overzealous about writing tickets has spurred action at the statehouse. A House bill would bar police from setting quotas for traffic citations.

The legislative effort follows an announcement from the head of the Wyoming Highway Patrol that the agency was discontinuing a policy that required troopers to issue a specified number of traffic stops and citations.

Wyoming Highway Patrol Col. John Butler announced in December that the department would end the practice starting Jan. 1, 2015.

“Although we in the patrol have never considered it (a ticket quota), we acknowledge that the perception exists and that’s why we are taking steps to address the issue,” Col. Butler said in a news release.

“Regardless of how our management tailors the job evaluation process, the Wyoming Highway Patrol’s overriding goal will continue to be the vigorous enforcement of traffic laws which directly impact highway safety.”

Rep. Charles Pelkey, D-Laramie, is one of nine lawmakers to attach their names to a bill that would make sure other police agencies don’t use the same or similar practices.

Supporters say the protection from quotas is needed for police who have too much pressure put on them, and it undermines their ability to use discretion.

HB125 reads that state, county and municipal agencies are included in the protection from meeting “a quota or suggest, formally or informally, a quota for any such officer.”

The bill awaits consideration in the House Transportation Committee.

A separate effort in the House Transportation Committee addresses speeding drivers. Sponsored by Rep. Steve Harshman, R-Casper, HB181 would revise penalties for exceeding the posted speed limit on rural interstates where 80 mph travel is permitted.

Specifically, motorists found to be exceeding the posted speed by up to 5 mph would face fines up to $25 in addition to other penalties. Truck drivers would face $100 fines.

Motorists caught traveling in excess of 85 mph would face fines starting at $35. Truck drivers would face $300 fines.

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