Have you ever been pulled over by a police officer for a citation you thought you barely deserved? There are many theories that police officers issue these tickets towards the end of the month because they are in need of fulfilling their citation requirements. Luckily for drivers, this past Wednesday, New Jersey Assemblyman Declan O’Scanlon introduced a bill that will prohibit police citations from being used as a way of measuring a police officer’s performance. O’Scanlon’s announcement was made after Mendham Township’s police chief held a press conference denying the accusations of police officers using ticket quotas and profiling young drivers.
The news came after a similar bill has been recently signed by Illinois Governor Pat Quinn, also banned the use of police citations as an evaluation. New Jersey wants to pass a similar law, strictly banning ticket quotas because people have felt that these ticket issues are unfair and that officials only issued them because they need to fulfill the requirement made by the ticket quotas. The current New Jersey regulation that was set in 2000, only states that police departments should not use ticket quotas as a “sole factor” of a police officer’s performance. Though because of the vague wording in the law, officials were able to take advantage and have been claiming for years that ticket quotas were being used as comparing police officers rather than an officer’s performance to a standard quota.
Executive director of the National Association of Police Organizations, Bill Johnson, claims that the organization dislikes the use of police quotas. He reasoned, “The pressure on the officer in any quota system is that it takes away their discretion. Maybe the officer would say, 'This isn't worth a ticket, I'll just give a warning,' but then they think 'maybe my evaluation will suffer or I won't get a raise.'”
The New Jersey State Policemen’s Benevolent Association director of government affairs, Rob Nixon also adds, “Police officers shouldn’t be made to go out and find an arbitrary number of people to issue summonses to. Their job is to protect people, not to harass them.”
People are concerned with the number of police officers that spend their time mostly in higher traffic areas instead of being in residential areas. The situation over citation quotas has been known throughout the whole country. While in some states explicitly allow a standard number to be used as an officer’s performance level, but others, states such as New Jersey and Illinois, are looking to ban these quotas.
It’s unfortunate that many drivers have been pulled over and been issued a ticket only because it is the end of the month and police officers need to make money. New Jersey has recognized the fact that police officers need to be more concerned with providing the safety and helping residents in need instead of trying to fulfill a quota. Police officers tend to feel pressured when there are a set number of citations and arrests issued hanging over their heads. Instead of trying to protect the wellbeing of residents, they are looking to find the next person they can issue a ticket to or arrest so they can fulfill the quota. Nixon reassures residents on police officers giving tickets with money as a motivation, “We want to ensure the public that [that] does not exist and will never exist in New Jersey. Their police officers are going to fight to make sure they're not being targeted to meet some arbitrary number."
Firozi, Paulina. "N.J. Lawmaker Aims to Stop Ticket Quotas." USA Today. Gannett, 19 June 2014. Web. 27 June 2014.
Horowitz, Ben. "Legislator Introducing Bill to Bar Ticket 'quotas' for Police Officers." NJ.com. N.p., 19 June 2014. Web. 27 June 2014.