Michigan bill would outlaw ticket quotas

| Monday, December 21, 2009

A Michigan lawmaker is calling for protections for police who are required to issue tickets to boost job performance results.

Sen. Glenn Anderson, D-Westland, has offered a bill that would prohibit an officer’s performance evaluation system from requiring a predetermined number of citations. Ticket writing in general still could be considered.

Ticket quotas have been outlawed in Michigan for 30 years. However, since the late ’80s a loophole has been created that allows tickets issued to be used in evaluations of traffic enforcement officers, as long as ticket writing is weighed equally among other job criteria.

The Detroit News published a list of communities that appear to have taken full advantage of the exemption allowing ticket mandates. Cities had requirements for their traffic officers to write anywhere from 15 tickets a month to 60 tickets a month.

Anderson said it isn’t right to use ticket quotas in any evaluation of a police officer. His bill would outlaw its inclusion.

“In effect it would give the discretion to the police officer whether or not a ticket is warranted instead of a department having an unwritten, but well-known, policy that officers have to issue X number of tickets by a set period of time,” Anderson told Land Line.

Anderson’s reason for offering the bill was to correct how the state allows police officers to be evaluated.

“(Quotas) should not be part of the equation. If issuing a ticket to someone deserving would have the greatest impact to alter their driving habit, police should be free to do that. But it shouldn’t be in the evaluation of a police officer as to how many tickets they’ve written,” he said.

Anderson said there is support for his bill. He pointed out that more than 80 percent of respondents to an online poll he offered are in favor of removing reference to tickets issued on officers’ performance evaluations.

However, some police chiefs defend the rule. They say officers don’t have a quota to meet. The number of citations issued – as well as warnings – is used to determine how well officers are doing their job.

Anderson’s bill – SB741 – is in the Senate Judiciary Committee. An identical House version – HB5287 – is in the House Judiciary Committee.

To view other legislative activities of interest for Michigan, click here.

– By Keith Goble, state legislative editor

Editor’s Note: Please share your thoughts with us about the legislation included in this story. Comments may be sent to statelegislativedesk@ooida.com.