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