Tickets tied to raises? E-mail
Written by Mark Nichols   

According to CNN, a memo among Atlanta police officers has reignited motorists’ suspicions that something shady is going on with traffic tickets. "The mayor has designated traffic court and ticket revenue for future pay increases," Atlanta Police Union President Ken Allen wrote this month. Some residents could barely contain their disdain. "I'm probably going to switch from sales and join the police force in that case, if that's the way it's working," one resident, Ken Miller, told CNN affiliate WSB-TV.

But Allen was quick to point out that while revenue from tickets will be earmarked for raises, more tickets will not necessarily lead to higher raises.

"We're not even asking anybody, or no one has made any suggestion, that any officer write any additional tickets than they already have," the union president told CNN.

"The revenues from tickets already go to the general fund. What the mayor has suggested doing is ... earmarking where these revenues are going for the future pay raises."

Still residents worry about an enforcement formula that’s tied to pay increases even if the appearance of impropriety is misleading.

"The citizens need to understand - we're not running a ticket revenue stream just to get a pay increase. All we're trying to do is correct the inefficiencies and hold those accountable for citations we've already written."

Former police officer and TV judge Alex Ferrer though said he's concerned about the possible effects of linking ticket revenues directly to pay increases.

"Once you tie something to somebody's financial earnings, they are motivated in a way that they are not motivated before," he said.

Tucson Police Chief Roberto Villasenor requires his officers to make an average of at least one traffic stop a day. He said many important arrests stem from traffic stops.

"That's where we get most of our narcotic arrests. We get a lot of warrants we've been able to serve," Villasenor told CNN affiliate KGUN.

"There's benefit from traffic stops that have been proven in city after city. I'm just saying we can't forget that's part of our job."

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