Utah bill would outlaw ticket quotas

| 2/7/2007

The Utah House has narrowly approved a bill that is intended to prevent law enforcement officers from going on ticket writing sprees.

House lawmakers voted 38-35 Tuesday, Feb. 6, to approve a bill - HB255 - that would prohibit all law enforcement agencies in the state from setting traffic ticket quotas. The protection also would apply to complaints and warning notices.

Rep. Neil Hansen, D-Ogden, told lawmakers before the vote he had first hand knowledge that officers in Ogden City are required to write a certain number of tickets.

"I was with a daughter and we got pulled over. I asked the officer if he's under a quota system. He said they really don't call it a quota system, it's more of a performance-based evaluation system," Hansen said.

As part of that system, the officer told him, he's required to write eight tickets a day.

Police chiefs opposed to the bill said it would strip them of their ability to require reluctant officers to write tickets when necessary.

Supporters of the measure said there's a difference between telling officers to write a certain number of tickets and telling them to write all the infractions they see.

Hansen said that if chiefs have officers who refuse to write tickets, the problem is with the officers who refuse to enforce the laws - not the lack of a ticket quota.

The bill has been forwarded to the Senate for further consideration.