Wednesday, March 12, 2014
Tulsa (Okla.) World: The Oklahoma Senate has approved a measure to discourage ticket quotas for law enforcement officers.
Senate Bill 1815 would prevent police from having citation quotas used in their performance evaluations. The proposal passed on a 35-1 vote and is pending in the state House.
Sen. Bryce Marlatt said he proposed the bill after state troopers complained that they were being evaluated based on how many tickets they wrote.
A spokesman for the Oklahoma Highway Patrol said troopers are evaluated on the number of contacts they have with the public. Contacts can include tickets, warnings or motorist assistance, but it’s easy to imagine how the line between the contacts and citations could get blurred in the minds of troopers and some of their supervisors.
The OHP hasn’t taken a position on the proposal, but Marlatt says troopers “overwhelmingly” oppose quotas.
We do, too.
Troopers, deputies and police officers are law enforcement officers, not cash cows. It’s legitimate and appropriate to make sure they are staying in contact with the public, but very different and wrong to push them to keep the stream of money from citations coming into the bank.
The discretion of law enforcement officers to take action short of citations is important to their reputation, morale and public safety.