Ticket quotas targeted in multiple states

July 22, 2021

Keith Goble

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Pursuit of changes to state laws that require law enforcement officers to partake in ticket-writing sprees are approved or nearing approval in multiple statehouses. More ticket quota changes are possible.

About 20 states have acted so far to discourage practices that pressure law enforcement officers to write tickets and/or make arrests through ticket quotas.

Nevada

Nevada is the latest state to take action to ban ticket quotas. The rule took effect this month.

Gov. Steve Sisolak has signed into law a bill to forbid police departments from any requirement for officers to issue a specific number of citations. AB186 implements the same protection to protect officers from making a certain number of arrests.

Additionally, departments are prohibited from considering citations written or arrests made when evaluating officer performance.

Assemblywoman Rochelle Nguyen, D-Las Vegas, has referred to the quota system as a “perverse policy policing activity.”

She added that quotas are used to fund certain departments and to evaluate personnel.

“Their use damages the integrity of law enforcement in communities throughout Nevada,” Nguyen testified.

Critics have questioned whether quotas exist in the state. They add that departments should be able to use citation and arrest data when evaluating officers.

New Jersey

The New Jersey Legislature has approved a bill that is intended to curb ticket quotas.

State law prohibits ticketing numbers from being the “sole” factor when evaluating officer performance.

S1322 would close the loophole. Specifically, law enforcement agencies would be prohibited from using the volume of an officer’s arrests or citations as a factor when evaluating that officer’s overall performance.

“Officers are all too often pressured to write more tickets to increase revenue and help municipalities balance their budgets,” Sen. Shirley Turner, D-Hunterdon/Mercer, said in previous remarks.

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.

Another provision in the bill would prohibit agencies from posting arrest and citation data in common areas accessible to all officers “to create competition between officers concerning arrests and citations.”

The bill has moved to the governor’s desk.

Pennsylvania

Also of note is a bill in the Pennsylvania House to ban ticket quota language for any regional police department or agency in the state.

HB134 would outlaw any quota order, mandate, or requirement. The protection would forbid law enforcement agencies from directly or indirectly, suggesting to any officer that the officer issue a certain number of citations over a specified period of time.

The bill is in the House Transportation Committee. LL

More state trends

Keith Goble, state legislative editor for Land Line Media, keeps track of many trends among statehouses across the U.S. Here are some recent articles by him.

WW Williams

Keith Goble has been covering trucking-related laws since 2000. His daily web reports, radio news and “OOIDA’s State Watch” in Land Line Magazine are the industry’s premier sources for information regarding state legislative affairs.