Explorations in Policing, Faith and Life (With a hint of humor, product reviews, news and whatever catches my attention)

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Motivation Part 2

     Anyone that has read this blog for any amount of time quickly realizes that I hate traffic enforcement. Unless I need a reason to stop a load of gang bangers or a drug load, I really hate pimping the general public on silly traffic nonsense.

     The problem with my attitude is that in patrol it is an expected part of my duty day. So I decided to refocus myself now that I am back in patrol and at least fulfill my basic patrol duties.  We, as a department, are currently having a problem with our county. The court fees keep getting raised and the judges are feeling sympathetic to our traffic offenders because the fees are double the maximum possible ticket fine.  As a local department only get a percentage of the fine and nothing of the court fees. The judges are still finding the traffic offenders guilty but instead of the max fine they are taking it all the way down to twenty, ten and in one case, five dollar fines. The bottom line is the county is making bank on all of our work.

    Our administration, rightly, decided to try to keep as many tickets within the city as is possible, so that we can reap the work of our hands rather than the county. This making sense, I dedicated myself to local ordinance, equipment and parking tickets. Fast forward a year and I am getting my annual review. I have full points. Further, he lets me know that he is pleasantly surprised that I am second on my shift in total tickets written, knowing full well that it was not a passion of mine.

     However, sheepishly my Sargent, lets me know that there is one thing we have to talk about. He goes on to say that he was asked to do an audit of the total traffic stops for the department. In that audit, I am the last one on the shift in total traffic stops. So he asks me nicely, to commit to more traffic stops. I then foolishly ask if he is going to talk to anyone else about this ticket/traffic stop issue. He tells me no. So I say, “Okay, you are not going to talk to the guys who wrote less tickets than I did because they did more traffic stops than I did.”

    He says, “yes”. 

     I then ask, “But didn't our Chief rightfully say we needed to write as many as local ordinances as we possibly could. So if I write more of my tickets as moving violations, the city will get less money.”

    He responded, “Yep, that was my take away from that conversation. But remember making traffic stops, not just writing tickets are an important part of your job.”

I rejoin, “But hasn't every study from the seventies till now shown that traffic stops have little to no effect on the public's driving behavior?”. He again nods yes. I finish with, “So if I understand this, I need to do more of a thing that doesn't change the public behavior or increase safety, does not raise money for the city just to hit a magic number that someone above you has arbitrarily set, that we don't know what that is? When they have asked us to do the exact opposite, via roll call training, email, and personal visits to roll call?” He sighs, give me the shoulder shrug, that universally indicates, look its not my idea I just have to tell you about it.

    I let him know that I certainly would make more stops and just walked away shaking my head. Policy is the right thing to follow, you know, until they don't want you to follow their policy. Fun on the job.


Slamdunk said...

Sorry to hear that this is still a topic of common contention. Working patrol overnights for years with limited manpower, I always prided myself in being available to answer calls. I made traffic stops, but did not see that as my #1 priority--instead I needed to be available for the burglary or robbery in progress call.

It was much easier for supervisors to reward a "Dudley Ticket Writer" because he had good stats without realizing who was out taking all his reports and why his zone was being carried away by theirs as he hundred for speeders.

Hang in there.

Badge at the feet of Christ said...

It seems like that is the same everywhere...the worst is when one of those guys get promoted. He/she arrives at my call, a call he/she should have handled a hundred times by now. Then he/she just looks at you blankly and whispers, "hey what do we do here I haven't had one of these".