Tickets = Revenue


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lysander
July 31, 2005, 11:41 AM
I am actually shocked that public officials are willing to go on the record regarding what we all know to be true. Tax collection.....


Tickets make the city money.... (http://www.rctimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20050727/MTCN0301/307270113/1303/MTCN03)

Coopertown sees revenue increase in new fiscal year
By Nicole Young
Staff Writer


The city of Coopertown’s 2005-06 budget will see almost a million dollar increase in revenue from last year due to community development and increased ticketing by police officers.

According to city documents, the majority of the new revenue is being brought in by the addition of seven major developments in need of building permits. Existing developments in Coopertown planning expansion during the next fiscal year are Windmere, Winland, Oak Point, Bella Vista, and Autumn Hills.

Two new housing developments, Crab Tree Acres and Hunter Green, are also being planned, officials said.

However, a large portion of the revenue will come from the Coopertown Police Department, said Mayor Danny Crosby.

Records on display in Coopertown City Hall show that it had cost the city approximately $448,979 between the years of 1998 to 2004 to fund the police department.

For example, during the fiscal year 2003-04, the police department had appropriated funds of $125,123, which were entirely spent, but revenue in the form of court fines only totaled $17,689 leaving a total of $107,434 as a burden for the taxpayers.

“In response, Coopertown lowered speed limits and began enforcing them creating a big jump in revenue,” said Crosby.

“A big jump happens with good management. We are trying to get the citizens of Coopertown to feel safer on our roads and have a police force that not only creates money for the city, but adds safety to the roadways.

“The big jump” Crosby said, was started this past January.

According to city records, court fines brought in by Coopertown police during July 1 through Dec. 31, 2004 only totaled $10,172.25. The funds appropriated for the department were $155,880.

From Jan. 1 to June 30, 2005 court fine revenue jumped to $152,324 bringing the total police department revenue for the fiscal year 2004-05 to $162,496.

“Our police department will no longer cost the citizens of Coopertown. It will be self-sufficient from now on,” said Crosby.

“I’ve seen court dockets in the past that prove only two tickets were given in Coopertown during one month’s time,” said Coopertown City Recorder Kacie Reynolds.

“I mean Coopertown is called a speed trap now, but I would rather know our police department is out there working rather than just giving out two tickets a month.

“I start to wonder what else they’re doing if they aren’t staying busy,” Reynolds said.

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308win
July 31, 2005, 11:52 AM
“I mean Coopertown is called a speed trap now, but I would rather know our police department is out there working rather than just giving out two tickets a month.
Maybe they should try real police work, who knows they might actually see a drop in the crime rate and unsolved crimes. :cuss:

Steve in PA
July 31, 2005, 12:01 PM
Wow, what an idiot.

1) Towns can't rely on citations to balance their budget

2) PD's are not supposed to be "self sufficient", thats the cost of running a town.

3) More citations means more court pay (overtime) which means they will loose even more money.

TallPine
July 31, 2005, 12:12 PM
I don't suppose that it ever occurred to them to lay off a few cops, since they were apparently just hanging around without anything to do... :rolleyes: And if that wasn't the case, then now they are neglecting more important issues.

How about a "volunteer police department" ....?

It works for us for the fire department. A citizen volunteer can as easily be paged out to a burglary or other disruption as to a fire. It is certainly not any more time critical. It would sure be a hell of a lot faster for someone in my neighborhood to turn out, than for a deputy to take 30-40 minutes to drive out from town (even assuming he/she was free to dispatch at that instant anyway).

allmons
July 31, 2005, 12:22 PM
We all knew that speeding tickets were a regressive tax, but it seems strange that the 'powers that be' actually admitted to it.

There is even proof in the article that speeding tickets have nothing to do with safety - reread the line "...lowered the speed limits...". They INTENTIONALLY lowered speed limits TO MAKE MORE REVENUE.

:banghead:

Old Dog
July 31, 2005, 12:59 PM
While I don't believe that ticket fines should be a primary source of revenue for any city (as the effect of depending on ticket revenue then adversely shifts a city's law enforcement's focus), and I'm not gonna touch the subject of speed limits on highways, I can't let the statement that
speeding tickets have nothing to do with safety
go by ... For certain, in residential areas, construction zones and school zones, speed limits have everything to do with safety, and fines for violating the speed limits are a good deterrent.
"Regressive tax?" The definition of a regressive tax I'm familiar with is:
A tax that takes a larger percentage of income from low-income groups than from high-income groups. You're equating fines for speeding, which apply only to those who willfully violate laws, with a form of taxation? Would you rather fund your local police department with across the board increases in local income, sales or property taxes?

beerslurpy
July 31, 2005, 01:15 PM
Actually I got a speeding ticket last month for going under the speed limit. I'm fighting it in court but the cops out here have a habit of pulling over dozens of cars at at time and handing out tickets for made up amounts over the limit. They claim to have an airplane judging people's speed, but he is pretty far from accurate.

It is a regressive tax beause people like me are smart enough to fight the cases while poor people have neither the time nor the education to understand that it is possible.

The speed limits here are set about 20-30 mph below what a normal person would consider safe. Here you can drive the posted limit in a storm with 40 mph winds and driving rain or while towing something huge. The speed limit basically means "safe under the most extreme conditions." The point is to make it easy for people to go above the speed limit so you can give them lots of tickets.

If you took away the revenue from tickets the police departments would have to be paid for through other taxes which would involve a greater struggle. And they would thus become smaller unless there was a really urgent need for more police. The current situation is why Clearwater has more police than every county except New York. The need for funding is artificially raised because departments get so large on ticket revenue. Whenever any armed government group becomes financially self-sufficient, that should be cause for alarm, not celebration.

dfaugh
July 31, 2005, 01:41 PM
Only instead of speeding tickets they have about 100 "code enforcement" officers driving around all day, enforcing about a million ridiculous different types of code violations (most neighboring towns have 3-5 code enforcement people)....And they keep adding new things that are "illegal"...

For example, it used to be illegal to have an unlicensed vehicle on your property, unless it was behind the front edge of the house (I ran afoul of this once, as we routinely drive "winter cars" up here, save the good ones for better weather!). NOW, Its illegal to have a unlicensed vehicle ANYWHERE on the property (I have 10 acres), except inside a structure. Got a ticket last year because I had my son's old car parked by the road with a for sale sign on it!

TallPine
July 31, 2005, 03:53 PM
I'm not against speed limits per se, at least in towns and on secondary roads.

But take the road I live on (near) for instance: the posted limit is 35mph but there are many places where 20-25mph is about the top safe speed because of curves and hills. There are also a few stretches where 45mph would be "reasonable and prudent" (providing you watch out for cows).

I liked it back when MT had no stated speed limit on most hiways. I actually drove slower back then because I didn't have to keep up with some arbitrary limit so as not to hold up traffic. I could drive 55 because you could always pass me doing 90 if you wanted and nobody cared.

beerslurpy
July 31, 2005, 04:12 PM
I liked it back when MT had no stated speed limit on most hiways. I actually drove slower back then because I didn't have to keep up with some arbitrary limit so as not to hold up traffic.

This is what is known as "common sense." But unfortunately far less lucrative for the government.

Waitone
July 31, 2005, 04:25 PM
Wait until the city gets THE PITCH from companies selling speed cameras. Radar activated cameras that snap your a picture of your car and send you a bill in the mail.
--No court
--No appeal
--No insurance impact
--No points
--Won't pay your bill? The city says bad things about you to credit agencies. That's it.

Charlotte has the proceeds from speeding cameras (AKA scameras) going to the city/county education empire. Get a load of that. You break the law and the schools benefit :scrutiny:

Great system. No humans, just paper and radar transactions. Why the city doesn't need to lay out any money. The company hawking the scameras will accept payment as a percentage of the take.

The only thing I don't get is the scameras are only on certain streets. So if you speed on street A with a scamera you get a nasty report to your credit company. Speed on street B and you get court, fine, insurance, and points. Just off hand I see a problem with equal protection under the law, but what do I know. :fire:

Crosshair
July 31, 2005, 04:26 PM
dfaugh

Sounds like that would not stand up in court. Too bad we can't take the time to fight this crap all the time. Good thing I am lucky enough not to drive a junker (Poor persons car) So the police don't bug me so much. Sad fact is that the police pull over junkers more cause they are less likely to be able to fight it in court.

allmons
July 31, 2005, 04:27 PM
Not to quibble, sirs and madams, but if people were truly interested in students' safety, they wouldn't build the dang schools next to major State roads and highways! It is ALWAYS about revenue enhancement with governments.

When the Supreme Court ruled that Law Enforcement ( ie, city, state and federal municipalities ) could seize money and propoerty of "offenders", this country became a banana republic in many ways. The police can seize your money and property and YOU have to fight to get it back. You have to go to court to prove you did nothing wrong.

Can't say as I can find that in the Constutution, but the Supremes found it somehow.

Lastly, if speed is dangerous, then why do so many police cars break the limit every day with little ill effect? If it's bad for citizens, then let's start ticketing law enforcement officials who speed without lights and sirens, because they are citizens also!

:banghead:

Art Eatman
July 31, 2005, 06:13 PM
Not always, but most of the time, speed limits in Texas are set by traffic engineers. Folks with technical knowledge as to safe speed limits. Generally, in cities, most of their time is spent in settings to coordinate traffic lights for smoothest flow. Overall, a good system.

It's seriously off-putting to see a quote like, “In response, Coopertown lowered speed limits and began enforcing them creating a big jump in revenue,” said Crosby. That expresses contempt for the whole idea of traffic safety.

For the majority of all people, involvements with LEOs are about some traffic violation, usually fairly minor. Misuse of speed limits in this manner thus breeds contempt for traffic laws, which in turn tends to breed contempt for all law...

Art

308win
July 31, 2005, 06:28 PM
It's seriously off-putting to see a quote like, “In response, Coopertown lowered speed limits and began enforcing them creating a big jump in revenue,” said Crosby. That expresses contempt for the whole idea of traffic safety.
Communities tend to get the government they deserve. If the good people of Coopertown were to fill the hall at the next council meeting and express their concern things might change and the Police Chief might get a better picture of his priorities.

TallPine
July 31, 2005, 06:58 PM
Communities tend to get the government they deserve. If the good people of Coopertown were to fill the hall at the next council meeting and express their concern things might change and the Police Chief might get a better picture of his priorities.
Not necessarily ....

Before we moved out into the county, the local city council was holding a public meeting regarding a "proposed" new dog control ordinance (max 2 dogs per residence/exhorbitant license fees/prohibition on dogs mating in town). After more than an hour of heated protest, one of the councilmen (also a HS teacher) informed us that the council had already made their decision and the public hearing was just a formality to meet some legal requirement.

I was just stunned speechless .... :banghead:


A few months later, we moved out into the hills. If we had stayed, I had determined to run for city council at the next available opportunity and hopefully become an abominable pest to the local nazis. But that little one-holer town isn't worth the effort :barf:

pax
July 31, 2005, 07:12 PM
The real problem with relying on tickets for city revenue is that you have to either keep lowering the speed limit, or keep coming up with new "offenses," as drivers change their behavior to avoid tickets.

Betcha two-three years from now, Cooperstown PD will have a problem generating revenue again.

pax

longrifleman
July 31, 2005, 08:16 PM
one of the councilmen (also a HS teacher) informed us that the council had already made their decision and the public hearing was just a formality to meet some legal requirement.

That has been my experience with "public meetings" for about 30 yrs. Govt by the people is a joke being perpetrated to keep (most) of us complacent so we don't rise up and exercise the second ammendment for it's real purpose.


Pax is completely right, any govt that stupid will waste the money they do generate and when the law of unintended consequences hits them in the keister they will almost certainly look for ways to squeeze more money from the peasants. There is no way they will look in the mirror for the problem.

Standing Wolf
July 31, 2005, 10:08 PM
The difference between government and organized crime is... Uh... Well, ah... I forget.

Ezekiel
July 31, 2005, 10:13 PM
The difference between government and organized crime is... Uh... Well, ah... I forget.

Typically, the word you're searching for is "organization", with the government lagging far behind. :banghead:

308win
August 1, 2005, 03:37 PM
The difference between government and organized crime is... Uh... Well, ah... I forget.
If they don't pay taxes on their ill-gotten gains organized crime is sent to jail, the government isn't.

mountainclmbr
August 1, 2005, 03:48 PM
In San Diego the city got caught shortening the time for yellow lights to catch more people with the cameras they set up to ticket people running red lights.

In Boulder, CO (after the San Diego story) I noticed they shortened the yellow light times. After a while the cameras went up. Pretty smart socialists here in Boulder, ey?

HankB
August 1, 2005, 04:50 PM
. . . speed limits in Texas are set by traffic engineers. Folks with technical knowledge as to safe speed limits.Over the years, I've had discussions with a few people who were "traffic engineers." I was most unimpressed with them . . . and I've been most unimpressed with the handiwork of "traffic engineers" in and around the Austin area.

As far as safe speed limits are concerned, one of the times I was called for jury duty, a guy was fighting a traffic ticket for speeding. When being questioned during the voir dire portion of the proceedings, I remarked that I felt the speed limit on a particular section of road was unreasonably low, and was set that way simply for "revenue enhancement."

The prosecutor asked me if I was aware that under Texas law, the official speed limit was required to be considered reasonable.

I almost laughed out loud . . . "Counselor" said I, "Passing a law that says something has to be regarded as reasonable is probably the best evidence possible that we're dealing with something entirely UN-reasonable!"

He excused me right then and there, and even though there were more cases on the docket, the judge told me I was free to leave. I guess they didn't want me contaminating the jury pool further.

SMMAssociates
August 1, 2005, 11:17 PM
I don't have much of a problem with speed cameras as long as the speed measurement is averaged over a short distance and set at least 10mph above the posted limit. Instantaneous speeds sometimes get above the limit as we "settle in" while accellerating from a light, for example, and both the radar or lidar units and our speedometers have tolerances, too.

There are just very few valid reasons to be going more than 10 mph over the limit.

Lowering the speed limit as a revenue generator is despicable, though....

I, however, object strongly to "red light" cameras. It's too easy to fudge the yellow light time (as in San Diego), but more importantly, the camera just doesn't know about circumstances that might easily clear you.

I was an Auxiliary Officer around here for some time, way back when, and did more than one ride-along. One night I got detailed to ride with a senior Sergeant. We came up to a traffic light, with one car in front of us, and sat there to wait for the light to change. A friend of the Sergeant's came through the intersection, and he chirped the horn at the guy. Driver in front of us looked in his rear view mirror and saw the black & white with two BIG uniforms in the front seat, and promptly shot through the light....

(Bill looked at me: "What did I just do?" Fortunately, nobody got hurt.)

I've had to get out of the way in a similar manner more than once, too. The idea that there's no on-scene appeal, and nobody to put on the stand, just frosts me.

We do have an epidemic of idiots shooting through red lights like they weren't there, but they tend not to have licenses anyway, and don't pay their tickets.

What I would support is very simple today, but probably would be a logistics headache. Run a "tape" for about 30 seconds before and after the "violation" and submit that with the citation, from two or more angles. If there's anything going on that would exonerate the violator, it should be there.

OH is considering a state-wide ban on these things. I hope that passes, but our legislature thinks like the folks who lowered those speed limits....

(Locally, my Township is lowering speed limits on most secondary roads from 35MPH to 25MPH. They're placing signs when they have the money.... The result is a patchwork of 35 & 25 streets that confuse the daylights out of everybody. The good news is that most traffic enforcement is limited to the more major roads. Even the Officers aren't sure....)

cracked butt
August 1, 2005, 11:39 PM
A couple of years ago, Milwaukee farmed their parking ticket writing out to an outside agency in order that more tickets could be written and the city could make more money in that area. Bogus parking tickets are the norm as traffic court is held midday weekdays where most people find it inconceivable to take off a workday to fight a $15-20 ticket.
Add to that, the city has repeatedly used the same towing companies regardless of lower bids from other contractors, there have been reports of kickbacks from the towing companies the city uses.

And city officials wonder why people get the impression that the city government is corrupt at all levels. :mad:

O.F.Fascist
August 2, 2005, 01:54 AM
HankB, I agree with you.

Here is a link with speed limits and the relevent laws of different states.
http://www.mit.edu/~jfc/laws.html

Here is some interesting info on Texas in particular speed limits.

Texas is one of the few states that doesnt have an "absolute" speed limit.

What that means is that going faster than the speed limit in and of itself is not illegal.

What is illegal is driving at an unreasonable speed, and "unreasonable" is not defined by the law.

http://www.capitol.state.tx.us/statutes/docs/TN/content/htm/tn.007.00.000545.00.htm#545.351.00
§ 545.351. MAXIMUM SPEED REQUIREMENT. (a) An operator
may not drive at a speed greater than is reasonable and prudent
under the circumstances then existing.
(b) An operator:
(1) may not drive a vehicle at a speed greater than is
reasonable and prudent under the conditions and having regard for
actual and potential hazards then existing; and
(2) shall control the speed of the vehicle as
necessary to avoid colliding with another person or vehicle that is
on or entering the highway in compliance with law and the duty of
each person to use due care.
(c) An operator shall, consistent with Subsections (a) and
(b), drive at an appropriate reduced speed if:
(1) the operator is approaching and crossing an
intersection or railroad grade crossing;
(2) the operator is approaching and going around a
curve;
(3) the operator is approaching a hill crest;
(4) the operator is traveling on a narrow or winding
roadway; and
(5) a special hazard exists with regard to traffic,
including pedestrians, or weather or highway conditions.

however they can and obviously do try to use the fact that you were going faster than the speed limit as evidence that your speed was unreasonable.

§ 545.352. PRIMA FACIE SPEED LIMITS. (a) A speed in
excess of the limits established by Subsection (b) or under another
provision of this subchapter is prima facie evidence that the speed
is not reasonable and prudent and that the speed is unlawful.

However it is just one piece of evidence and it and of itself does not make you guilty.

Also unlike other states when reckless driving is defined as being a set ammount of speed over the speed limit, Texas does not define reckless driving at any set speed.

http://www.capitol.state.tx.us/statutes/docs/TN/content/htm/tn.007.00.000545.00.htm#545.401

§ 545.401. RECKLESS DRIVING; OFFENSE. (a) A person
commits an offense if the person drives a vehicle in wilful or
wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property.
(b) An offense under this section is a misdemeanor
punishable by:
(1) a fine not to exceed $200;
(2) confinement in county jail for not more than 30
days; or
(3) both the fine and the confinement.
(c) Notwithstanding Section 542.001, this section applies
to:
(1) a private access way or parking area provided for a
client or patron by a business, other than a private residential
property or the property of a garage or parking lot for which a
charge is made for the storing or parking of motor vehicles; and
(2) a highway or other public place.
(d) Notwithstanding Section 542.004, this section applies
to a person, a team, or motor vehicles and other equipment engaged
in work on a highway surface.

Crosshair
August 2, 2005, 09:47 AM
O.F.Fascist

Kind of like here in ND. Highway speed limit is 75, people do 85 all the time. I've done 105 before. (That's as fast as my car will go. :( I had to be somewhere in a hurry, yes it was worth it. ) People passed me even at that speed.

DRZinn
August 2, 2005, 09:53 AM
“In response, Coopertown lowered speed limits and began enforcing them creating a big jump in revenue,” said Crosby.Very telling.

I've seldom seen a speed limit that it wouldn't ne "reasonable and prudent" to exceed by about 10 mph or more. On the freeway, it would be "reasonable and prudent" to do 100 when there isn't too much traffic.

Waitone
August 2, 2005, 10:06 AM
Charlotte got into speed cameras by going through traffic light cameras first. When the debate started on traffic light cameras camera proponents said it was for safety, yada yada yada. Opponents pointed out from actual historical results that by simply increasing the yellow light's on time by a fraction of a second the city could reduce intersection accidents far beyond the projected accident reduction via cameras.

Back and forth they went. Eventually the city caved and admitted the cameras weren't about safety but about revenue. Once the admission was voiced, outlying towns immediately began installing cameras

Safety, schmafety. Its all about filthy lucre.

Deavis
August 2, 2005, 04:57 PM
Not always, but most of the time, speed limits in Texas are set by traffic engineers. Folks with technical knowledge as to safe speed limits. Generally, in cities, most of their time is spent in settings to coordinate traffic lights for smoothest flow. Overall, a good system.

I agree that it is completely reasonable to have someone with technical knowledge setting speed limits but it also helps if they have a little bit of common sense. The highways here in Texas seem to be built so that the guy driving the UPS truck can make a turn at 70mph with ease. What boggles my mind is that most people are driving cars that are technologically light years ahead of the cars from 20 years ago but many roads have the same speed limit as 20 years ago, 55MPH. It is ridiculous that I have to go 55mph on a 10-lane divided highway at 7am on a sunday when I could easily do 100-125MPH with absolutely no risk due to the capabilities of my vehicle which can now include 4 wheel disc brakes with ABS, traction control, superior suspension technology, all-weather tires with more grip than bubble-gum, power steering, light weight chassis, and a myriad of other goodies.

The simple truth is that traffic is self-regulating as most drivers will not exceed their saftey envelope for that particular car and traffic conditions will force the speed limits down to acceptable ranges as necessary. Nobody is going to be rolling 100MPH during rush-hour but on a deserted highway, why not? Those who exceed their limits and cause an accident should be severely punished as should those who obstruct the flow of traffic, ie left-lane vigilantes or idiots who don't know the rules of the road.

Take away someone's drivers license for 6 months and fine them $5000 if they cause an accident and I bet you people will start taking their responsibility behind the wheel more seriously. You want to see people hang up and drive, simply make them pay for that conversation with a big fat check after they are assigned blame. I am willing to bet that if you removed speedlimits on most roads (residential, school, work zone exempted) and severly punished drivers who caused accidents or were reckless, you wouldn't see a change for the worse despite average speeds going up.

rhubarb
August 2, 2005, 10:06 PM
Traffic tickets as revenue!

What'll they think of next? Anti-terror laws used against street hoodlums? :rolleyes:

I always thought that if traffic citations had anything to do with public safety, they'd make jail time mandatory. Cop pulls you over for 41 in a 35, cuffs you, locks you up. Bet that'd cut down on the number of you dangerous speeders. Cut down on the amount of tickets written, too. If people faced jail time and the local municipality had to foot the bill for speeders' incarceration, there would be fewer violators and less motivation to arrest them. It's a classic win-win situation.

beerslurpy
August 2, 2005, 10:27 PM
One problem unrelated to revenue is that there is a huge gulf between the skills of drivers and the qualities of cars. This creates problems when you attempt to engage in preemptive regulation of traffic safety (attempting to prevent behavior that you beleive leads to accidents).

Drivers:
Drivers who have done autocross and driven many track days will obviously have a ton more skill than the average soccer mom or old lady with glaucoma. A skilled driver will have much less difficulty in anticipating and avoiding accidents at higher speeds. And have much less difficulty in maintaining or if necessary, recovering control o the car at high speeds.

Cars:
There is a huge difference between the faster and slower cars on the roads. My daily driver is orders of magnitude slower to brake, turn and accelerate than my weekend car. And my daily driver is in excellent condition. Racing brakes, racing tires and good shocks make a car enormously more capable than any normal street car.

The problem:
How do you have one set of rules for a car with 1.3 g of skidpad and a skilled driver and another car with .7g of skidpad and a poor driver? What speed limit do you post in a curve which one can safely take at 4 times the speed of another? How can you make uniform regulations when one car's 110% is another car's 30%? How do you differentiate between different drivers of otherwise identical cars?

The two bad solutions:
The laws unfortunately cant really differentiate between these different levels of competency. The only preemptive solutions are lowest common denominator or to have a system that employs some sort of informed discretion on the part of an expert (but where will you get one?).

The one solution compatible with Liberty:
Or you base the system entirely on the results of people's actions. If people drive beyond their abilities, they will have accidents. If they have accidents, you put them in jail or take away their license. Easy! The founders would have approved!

Flyboy
August 2, 2005, 11:07 PM
What I would support is very simple today, but probably would be a logistics headache. Run a "tape" for about 30 seconds before and after the "violation" and submit that with the citation, from two or more angles. If there's anything going on that would exonerate the violator, it should be there.
Well, yeah, sure, but that sounds like it might allow the defendant "to be confronted with the witnesses against him," and "to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor," and we can't have that, now can we?

SMMAssociates
August 2, 2005, 11:20 PM
Well, yeah, sure, but that sounds like it might allow the defendant "to be confronted with the witnesses against him," and "to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor," and we can't have that, now can we?

Flyboy:

Yeah - that would be way too fair....

Locally, the Girard OH folks decided to put up a speed camera. They're just issuing warnings for a few more days.

Seems nobody bothered to put the "sent payment to:" address on the citations....

I don't have a lot of trouble with the speed cameras other than what I mentioned earlier, but those red light things are potential thievery. (I do have a problem with the camera supplier getting a cut.)

Regards,

LawDog
August 2, 2005, 11:26 PM
Personally, I'm of the opinion that class 'C' misdemeanors, such as traffic tickets, should be dealt with by public flogging.

There are many benefits to this: 1)it would immediately remove 'revenue generation' as the reason for traffic enforcement; 2)the time and effort involved in making an arrest, booking, and the guaranteed court date vs. the time in writing a ticket, would force officers to concentrate on the most flagrant violaters; and 3)people who would think nothing of risking $80 to go 20 MPH over the speed limit might not be as blase about four strokes with a rattan cane.

*sigh*

Unfortunately, the Sheriff and the DA don't agree with me.

How about a "volunteer police department" ....?

It works for us for the fire department. A citizen volunteer can as easily be paged out to a burglary or other disruption as to a fire. It is certainly not any more time critical. It would sure be a hell of a lot faster for someone in my neighborhood to turn out, than for a deputy to take 30-40 minutes to drive out from town (even assuming he/she was free to dispatch at that instant anyway).

The first department I worked for, had the Sheriff and three full-time deputies. One deputy and the Sheriff worked from 8AM to 4PM/Monday through Friday. The second deputy worked from 10PM to 6AM/Thursday through Monday. Deputy number three worked 8AM to 4PM Saturday through Monday and 10PM to 6AM Tuesday and Wednesday.

This left gaping holes in our patroling from 4PM to 10 PM and 6AM to 8AM. We had a 40-man reserve force - unpaid volunteer deputies - who assured us that they'd patrol those slots.

Worked fine for about five days. Then the only un-married full-time officer the department - Your Humble Correspondent - wound up having to work un-paid comp time in those slots.

Every stinking time I racked up 40 or so comp hours and started making noises about either getting paid for my comp time or getting to actually use it, the Sheriff would go have a Come-to-Jesus meeting with the Reserves, and they'd start filling in the slots.

For about a week. And then I'd start taking it in the neck again.

Volunteer fire departments only get called away from job, family and/or home when there's actual excitement.

Patrolling isn't exciting, and people get bored in a hurry. Bored people who aren't getting paid for it start developing excuses for not showing up for patrol.

Maybe volunteer policing works other places, but I wound up eating about 1200 hours of un-paid comp time over a three-year period because of it.

LawDog

bogie
August 2, 2005, 11:33 PM
The St. Louis metro area is a heavy area of "revenue generation." You see, the "county" is composed of over 100 municipalities, as small as the low double-digits of population. And they ALL have police departments. And they all write tickets.

Lots and lots of tickets. There's at least one municipality who has about 100 or so yards of frontage on an interstate. Instant speed trap, running 24/7.

SMMAssociates
August 2, 2005, 11:47 PM
Lawdog:

I don't agree 100%, but I'd sure like to see it as an option.

Like for the guy who passes me on the left while I'm in the left turn lane waiting for an opening....

Multiple DUI's ought to be sent to Syria for road gang duty, too.

And the guys who indulge in what results in "high speed Police chases", well, I think it's a Federal crime to suggest what should happen to them.

I'm an old rent-a-cop. It's been a few decades, but I used to be able to quote the violation numbers for most of the usual suspects. Unfortunately, when I was sworn in, my education consisted of "don't kill anybody" and "don't screw with traffic." I did have to do OPOTA - OH's "Police Academy" later on. "Don't screw with traffic" was also part of that.... Which is to say that I don't give tickets. I get 'em....

So, when some yutz does something dumb/illegal/stupid/immoral, I know what the charge would be. If I could write it.... Naturally, the nearest black & white is across town doing something useful.

(That's generally the case out here - the Township kids are very good.)

OK - quick story.... I was in a bank drive-through one afternoon, dropping off a deposit for the former day job. I heard a Township Lt. ask for a tow truck for my wife's car. I called my office and told 'em that my wife would be calling looking for me, and that I'd go where she was as soon as I cleared the bank. She called, I went.... To the Donut Shop....

(I went to OPOTA with that Lt. If he was cooping, it'd be a shock - the guy used to drive the troops nuts by being all over the place.)

Regards,

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