10 Los Angeles Police Department Officers from the West Traffic Division sued the City of Los Angeles alleging that the LAPD has a traffic ticket quota that the officers must meet. The officers alleged, among other things, that they were being punished for refusing to obey quota requirements set by their superiors. Other allegations included denial of overtime and other benefits for not going along with the quota’s. The suit also alleges that traffic officers were given negative performance reviews based upon their failure to issue enough tickets and meet their superiors quotas.
Setting quotas for issuance of traffic tickets is illegal in California. However, in a time of budget constraints and staffing shortages, City officials are looking for any new sources of revenue that they can get. Police departments know that if they write a lot of tickets and generate a lot of revenue, they can justify a larger budget for the the following year. Additionally, police departments themselves can increase revenues by impounding more cars. Most every car that is impounded is subject to the payment of a vehicle release fee that goes directly to the law enforcement agency that towed the car.
This is not the first time LAPD officers have alleged ticket quotas. Two officers, also from LAPD West Traffic Division recently got a jury verdict in their favor. The officers got 2 million dollars from the jury after jurors decided the LAPD supervisors retaliated against the traffic officers after they complained about the ticket writing quotas. In that case which came down in April of this year, witnesses testified that they were ordered to patrol specific locations where traffic citations are easily issued. In doing this they were not allowed to patrol their regular areas in search of traffic offenses and letting other patrol areas vacant.
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