State Patrol Ticket Quots Uncovered - Clickit! or Ticket! program bad public policy, says initiative spokesperson
News release from WCS
MOSES LAKE 3-17-03, Washington State Patrol Interoffice Communication received pursuant to a public records request by the Washington Seatbelt Coalition (WSC), a group formed to repeal the new primary enforcement of the seatbelt law sponsoring Initiative-836 the CLICKIT STICKIT initiative, reveal a previously denied minimum ticket writing quota for State Troopers.
In WSP Interoffice Communications from Deputy C hief Lowell M. Porter, Field Operations Bureau, sent to various WSP supervisors across the state late last year(2002) regarding "Traffic Safety Blitz", Porter wrote: "During the emphasis, officers shall contact a minimum of three (3) violators per working hour with the desired outcome of 3 occupant protection/speed infractions per hour. Officers failing to meet the minimum requirement may be replaced."
Grant documents obtained from the Washington Traffic Safety Commission(WTSC) indicate for police agencies to receive grant dollars the officers must right a minimum 3 tickets per hour, warning a violator is not acceptable. Angie Ward, spokesperson for the WTSC has previously stated "The best way to get people to change their behavior is to have their money going out of their wa llet."
Roy Ruffino, of Lacey,who is currently in Eastern Washington promoting I-836 and spokesperson for the group is shocked to learn of the quota. "All along the State Patrol has been stating that there was no requirement for their troopers to write a minimum amount of citations. This is just one indication that these emphasis patrols in general and the CLICKIT! OR TICKET! program in particular is bad public policy and simply a revenue generator.
The memos go on state that the "Special Emphasis Team" officers shall focus their efforts on occupant protection and speed violations. And that team members are required to work 7 consecutive days on the program, but that days off and vacation time are to be utilized for the emphasis patrols. This means that the troopers will not actually be working for WSP they will be working for the Washington Traffic Safety Commission, donors of the grant money. And that the troopers will be getting paid at the rate of double time and a half (2 1/2) as they will be getting vacation time and the overtime pay. Plus perdiem and lodging.
Ruffino states, "It appears that the WTSC is now a quasi-law enforcement agency, hiring their own State Police force to enforce the law of the day. It would be nice if this much attention was given to meth labs and drug dealers. This type of enforcement will erode support for law enforcement officers who knows what the long-term effects of these ticket writing frenzies will be."
Dan Goebel, Poulsbo, prime sponsor of I-836 concludes, " The fact that police departments have quotas indicate that the primary enforcement of the seatbelt law is bad law. The police are under the gun to write as many tickets as possible. Obviously police do not have discretion with this program and are pressured into writing many tickets when they otherwise would not."
WSC only has till July 03, 2003 to gather enough signature to qualify I-836 for Novembers ballot, supporters who wish to recei ve a PETITION are being asked to send a legal size or larger self addressed stamped envelope(SASE) with 60cents return postage (SASE) to Washington Seatbelt Coalition PO BOX 5732 Lacey, WA 98509-5732
The memos received from WSP are located on WSC's website http://clickitstickit.com/
WSC may be contacted at 360-534-4396.
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