Now generally speaking, I don’t have a problem with law enforcement. I’ve had my own run ins, pretty much all traffic related… Some ended in my favor, others didn’t. I mainly do my best to ‘blend in’ and make it easier for someone else to fill the officer’s quota.
Lets get this out in the open – I have friends in the NY State Police, local departments, as well as the NYPD.
The one thing I have learned from talking to all of them – is that quotas DO exist. You will rarely hear ANYONE admit to them, but simple logic proves that they do. All people commit crimes, from driving 1 mph over the posted limit to pocketing some Juicy Fruit at the local gas station on a dare. We’re fish in a barrel – and law enforcement has an endless clip.
The important question is: Why are there quotas?
The logical answer: If a police officer doesn’t catch anyone committing a crime, they aren’t doing their job.
The real-world answer: Traffic tickets are extremely profitable, and most government entities cannot fully fund law enforcement simply on tax revenue.
The root cause of quotas is the high cost of law enforcement. This is why you can drive past a speed trap doing 5mph in one town and besides a moment of panic – get where you’re going without incident where in other towns that 5mph will get you a ticket and a court date. Speed traps, meter maids, these folks are the public face of the biggest armed collection agency on the planet. Whether you pay the fine outright or go to court and make a deal for a lower fine – either way you pay.
Now in a perfect world – the money collected from cops doing their job would be spent on cops. In reality though – I’d be astonished if that was the case, and the seemingly endless cashflow was never used to support other aspects of government. However – every business (including government) has a budget, and when creating that budget you want to estimate the revenue that’s coming in to support your expenses. You can’t have revenue from law enforcement unless they write tickets, and you can’t estimate how much revenue there will be UNLESS YOU SET A QUOTA TO MEET THE MINIMUM REVENUE REQUIREMENTS.
Personally – I want cops to have the best equipment available and be able to support themselves and their families financially… so the one I depend on for help will be able to get to me as fast as possible with a clear head. I’d also like to be able to believe that the reason I’m being stopped has more to do with law enforcement than shoring up a budget shortfall.
As far as the article in this link – it’s readily apparent that while the officer implicated was doing his job well, he wasn’t doing it well enough to satisfy the accountants at city hall. Firing an officer because the bloated and inefficient system he works for required him to violate his ethics to the point he decided to violate the system’s ethics instead – should be a wake up call to all of us that something has got to change.
I’d rather have an officer sitting there for a shift and only write 1 ticket for the ditsy blonde trying to text her boyfriend while applying lipstick instead of wasting his or her time stopping every single person who is driving in a straight line a few mph over the limit with a cellphone strapped to their head… but as long as the big initiatives in NYC have more to do with the eating and drinking habits of its citizens than their real physical safety – this will only continue to get more ridiculous.