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Ticket quotas are commonly defined as any establishment of a predetermined or specified number of traffic citations an officer must issue in a specified time. Some police departments may set "productivity goals" but deny specific quotas. In many places, such as California, Texas, and Florida, traffic ticket quotas are specifically prohibited by law or illegal.
One common way of preventing traffic ticket quotas includes statutorily regulating the distribution of ticket fines, to prevent fine revenue generated by tickets from going directly back to the law enforcement agency budget which issued the tickets; thus eliminating any direct monetary incentive between issuing tickets and the fine paid. For example, Florida law distributes traffic ticket fine monies by small percentages or amounts to several separate funds preventing it from going back to the agency which issued the ticket. Some of these different funds include the overall governmental entities' general revenue fund, Child Welfare Training Trust Fund, Juvenile Justice Training Trust Fund, Brain and Spinal Cord Injury Trust Fund, Indigent Criminal Defense Trust Fund, Emergency Medical Services Trust Fund, Law Enforcement Radio System Trust Fund, Vocational Rehabilitation of the Department of Education, Division of Blind Services, Epilepsy Services Trust Fund, and Nongame Wildlife Trust Fund.
Al O'Leary, a spokesman for the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association in Brooklyn, New York says: "Such quotas put the cops under pressure to write summonses when the violations don't exist ... It takes discretion away from the police officer."
The national quota system for issuing tickets was previously scrapped from police performance contracts, but individual forces may still impose their own quota system. In 2009 Guusje ter Horst told Members of Parliament the justice ministry had agreed that the police should raise €831m through fines.
- "SB 264 (2015) Transportation (Post-Meeting) Analysis" (PDF). Florida Senate. February 4, 2015. Retrieved August 1, 2018.
- Fahim, Kareem (January 12, 2006). "Police in Brooklyn Used Illegal Ticket Quotas, Arbitrator Decides". New York Times. Retrieved 2009-11-21.
In the 75th Precinct, the union accused the Police Department of setting quotas for parking tickets, moving violations, "quality of life" summonses (for offenses like turnstile jumping) and arrests, according to the arbitrator's report.
- Blankstein, Andrew; Rubin, Joel (April 12, 2011). "LAPD officers who complained about ticket quotas are awarded $2 million". Los Angeles Times.
- "316.640(b)(8), Fla. Stat. A traffic enforcement agency may not establish a traffic citation quota". Florida Legislature. 2016. Retrieved July 31, 2018.
- "318.21, Fla. Stat. Disposition of civil penalties by county courts". Florida Legislature. 2018. Retrieved August 1, 2018.
- "More fines, more respect says police minister". DutchNews.nl. November 17, 2009. Retrieved 2009-11-21.
The police can boost their standing in the community by handing out more fines, home affairs minister Guusje ter Horst told MPs on Tuesday. People expect to get a fine if they break the law, Ter Horst said. 'The instrument to boost respect is writing out tickets,' she was quoted as saying in the Telegraaf. 'People approve if road hogs or drivers who go through red lights are fined.' Ter Horst told MPs the justice ministry had agreed the police should raise €831m through fines, and denied this is new policy. Opposition MPs say the reputation of the police is being hurt by police officers standing on street corners handing out as many fines as possible. While the national quota was scrapped from police performance contracts, individual forces may still impose their own, the Telegraaf said.