Should police departments be used as revenue generators for cash-strapped municipalities?

It is reasonable to understand that police department traffic control is a necessary function. As painful as it is for the driver who receives a traffic ticket, that same driver, on reflection, would admit that without this traffic control, driving would become extremely dangerous. Many of us, as human beings, need rules and regulations that prevent us from exceeding the safe limits in our driving habits.

Of course, these police patrols must be paid and traffic tickets and court costs have always been a method to help cover the costs of officers, their vehicles, and other expenses. Most citizens would agree that this is a necessary function of local government.

However, as the economy worsens, more and more cities find that they are experiencing massive reductions in their normal taxes and other sources of income. Many of these cities do not find methods to increase their operating income and reduce the growing deficits. Unfortunately, some municipalities are seen to be using their traffic control offices more as revenue generators than their true function, which is traffic control to ensure safety.

As an example, I live in a Michigan city of approximately 100,000 inhabitants. The mayor in a recent newspaper article responded to citizen complaints about the extreme retirement pensions officials were receiving, explaining a reason why these pensions were so high. In this article, the mayor explained that the pensions these officers received were based to some extent on the amount of overtime the officers worked. Furthermore, he claimed that paying overtime was not a burden because these officers were bringing in large amounts of cash needed due to their ticket writing operations.

Think about this for a minute. Officers are offered the opportunity to receive overtime pay for working as a traffic control and writing fines to increase city revenues. Surely if the officer receiving this overtime pay was not writing a sufficient number of traffic tickets to cover the overtime and still be profitable, this practice would soon be discontinued and the officer would lose this additional income.

Does this give these officers the incentive to patrol areas where major traffic violations occur, such as intersections where drivers constantly run red lights or stop signs or perhaps ignore stopped school buses? These application areas can be difficult due to the inability to conceal your patrol vehicle in these locations. While these are the most important fines that need to be written, any officer who planned his shift in these areas could soon find that he was not writing enough infractions to cover his expenses, regardless of the positive effects his actions were producing and would soon be removed from the office. Program.

Is this really the proper use of these valuable officers? And any elected official would declare in an almost boastful way that his police officers were getting good income from the citizens without mentioning the reason for the increase in patrols. Are officers directed to high traffic accident areas, busy crosswalk or school areas? Or are they more likely to find places where they are easily concealed and minor traffic violations are easily obtained?

This problem is a reflection of the unreasonable actions of elected officials and is not the fault of officials who must follow instructions and orders from superiors. This practice is shameful and should be discontinued unless it can be shown that these actions increase traffic safety and not just revenue for city coffers.

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