Illinois bans ticket quotas to boost public trust in police

Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn (D) signed a law Sunday to ban police quotas. (AP Photo/Seth Perlman)
Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn (D) signed a bill Sunday to ban ticket quotas by police departments. (Seth Perlman/AP)

Illinois drivers may have less to fear at the end of the month under a new law that bans ticket quotas for police officers statewide.

A bill signed by Gov. Pat Quinn (D) on Sunday prohibits police departments from setting quotas for any period of time, a move that he said will boost public trust and “prevent motorists from facing unnecessary anxiety when they encounter a police vehicle.”

Under the law, departments are also no longer allowed to compare citation numbers when deciding officers’ promotions and raises.

State lawmakers, who overwhelmingly approved the bill, described it as a way to better deploy police resources.

“Arbitrary quotas on the number of tickets that have to be issued by police officers undermines the public trust in the police departments’ priorities,” State Rep. Jay Hoffman, a Democrat and cosponsor of the bill, said in a statement. “By eliminating these quotas, we can restore that trust and ensure that police officers are free to do their job protecting the public.”

The bill, which was years in the works, has overcome fierce criticism from police departments that defend quotas as crucial tools for motivating officers and measuring their performance.

Steven Settingsgaard, the chief of police in a small city along the Illinois River called Peoria, told lawmakers in 2010 that his officers are expected to write up 10 traffic and municipal ordinance violations each month. Without the quota, he warned that officers would slack on enforcement, according to a report then by the Peoria Journal Star.

The issue also heated up last summer in a town in southern Illinois called Carbondale, where all 60 officers were told to file 40 reports of “suspicious characters” each month, according to the Carbondale Times.

The Oklahoma legislature also approved a bill this year to prohibit departments from considering ticket quotas in job evaluations, though it has not yet been signed by the governor.

And while ticket quotas are banned in California, Los Angeles police have paid out more than $10 million for lawsuits alleging “secret ticket quotas” for city police officers.

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