A bill nearing passage in the Arizona Legislature is intended to quash police ticket quotas.
The Senate Public Safety, Military and Technology Committee voted unanimously to advance a bill that would prohibit law enforcement agencies from requiring officers to issue a certain number of citations within a specific period of time.
House lawmakers already approved the bill on a 54-4 vote. HB2410 now awaits consideration on the Senate floor. If approved there, it would move to the governor’s desk.
Departments would be prohibited from using the number of citations written by officers to determine rank or classification.
An amendment added to the bill would also apply the changes to county and state law enforcement agencies.
The legislative push follows recent policy changes at the Tucson Police Department. In summer 2014, the department set a requirement for officers to issue one ticket each day. Addressing criticism, Chief Roberto Villasenor amended the policy last fall to require one “traffic contact” per day, which can be a citation or warning.
John Thomas, representing the Arizona Association of Chiefs of Police, questions whether a state law is necessary. He told the Senate panel that since changes were made in Tucson his group is not aware of any ticket quota programs in the state.
Sen. Lupe Contreras, D-Avondale, questions any policy that says officers handing out tickets are better at their job than officers who choose to issue warnings.
“I don’t think you should be looking at promoting an officer based on how many tickets they write,” Contreras said. “I would think an officer that is giving out warnings versus tickets is gaining the respect of some individuals.”
Thomas said the police chiefs do not want to lose one of their evaluative tools when making decisions on promotions.
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