In the news, we always hear of positions of power abusing their authority over the common folk. We hear stories of policemen pulling people over for trivial crimes, like going a few miles over the speed limit and handing out asinine fines to punish those committing these crimes.
The public used to blame police quotas for the systematic fining the police force has carried out against them, but the state of Illinois recently passed a law hoping to restore faith back into the police.
On Sunday, according to an article published by the Peoria Journal Star, Governor Quinn passed a law declaring that police quotas are officially against state law. Police superiors are now unable to evaluate the success of the police force based on the number of tickets they issue. They also will not be required to hand out a certain number of tickets.
Although this is a step in the right direction, I have a hard time believing this will stop the problem altogether.
A quota such as this should not exist in the police force. Police hold extreme power over the common population, and if quotas were incentive to further the career of an individual police officer, the officer might feel the need to hand out tickets at will to propel them up the occupational ladder.
Now, Governor Quinn has officially declared the police quota as unconstitutional and against the law. But, is the quota problem a product of actual policy? Many other states already outlawed police quotas, yet the police force still abuses their power in certain instances.
For example, quotas might be technically against the law, yet police chiefs can still urge their force to hand out more tickets “or else.” If quotas are off the record, then quotas can still exist. It may now be illegal to enforce quotas as an official policy, but they can still exist outside the scope of the law.
The article does not specify exactly what the punishment will be for police departments who are caught using quotas, but it’s fair to assume that fines will be issued as part of the punishment.
The police force receives a majority of its funding from the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Justice, according to policegrantshelp.com. Both these departments are government organizations, and fining police departments for illegal use of ticket quotas creates a revenue stream for the government. This is the same mentality that police officers used when following ticket quotas. Issuing tickets grants revenue to the police force, which increases the desire to issue more tickets. This problem runs a lot deeper than unconstitutional quota policies.
Fines should never be processed as revenue, because corrupt individuals with positions of power can find ways to suck money out of taxpayer’s pockets to further their own careers.
There should be no incentive for writing tickets except to ensure public safety. There should be no financial motivation or occupational gains from writing citations. Governor Quinn is trying to quell these cases of corruption within the police force because the public is losing its confidence in law enforcement.
When stories of them come out enforcing unfair quotas, we as citizens have a hard time believing they are on our side in the first place. Law enforcement should be protecting its citizens from harm, instead of sucking money out of their pockets to generate revenue.
Chris Chipman is a senior English major and columnist for The Vidette. Any questions or comments regarding his column can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.