New Jersey bill forbids ticket quotas

By Keith Goble, Land Line state legislative editor | 7/17/2014

If a New Jersey state lawmaker gets his way, law enforcement in the state would be forbidden to go on ticket-writing sprees.

A new law in Illinois also addresses the issue. Gov. Pat Quinn said the new law is part of his agenda to maintain integrity in local government.

“This new law will improve safety and working conditions for police officers and prevent motorists from facing unnecessary anxiety when they encounter a police vehicle,” Quinn said in a recent news release.

In New Jersey, Assemblyman Declan O’Scanlon, R-Red Bank, recently introduced a bill he said would close a loophole that prohibits ticketing numbers as the “sole” factor when evaluating officer performance.

He said that distinction “leaves a gaping hole that you could drive a truck through.”

“It’s a dirty little secret that some police forces are blatantly considering ticketing rates in the officer assessment process,” O’Scanlon stated. “Not only is that a terrible policy, it diminishes the value of all that our officers do by turning them into revenue-generating machines.”

His bill would prohibit law enforcement agencies from using the volume of an officer’s arrests or citations as a factor when evaluating that officer’s overall performance.

Critics say there is no “one size fits all” standard of performance for law enforcement. Instead, police chiefs need to have the ability to establish performance measures and expectations specific to their individual agencies.

O’Scanlon said his bill “will really allow police men and women to focus on safety and take the emphasis off writing tickets. … This is just good policy all around.”

The bill, A3457, can be considered in the Assembly Law and Public Safety Committee.

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