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Utah may soon ban traffic ticket quotas for police officers

The Utah legislature is set to debate a bill that would outlaw ticket quotas for police departments. If the bill passes, Utah would join a number of other states that have outlawed ticket quotas for local police departments, including Illinois, California, Pennsylvania and New York. (Getty Images)

A Utah state lawmaker has introduced a bill that would make it illegal for Utah police departments to use traffic ticket quotas to evaluate police officer performance in the state.

State Sen. Howard Stephenson (R) explained that he was opposed to making police departments into revenue generators, as opposed to protectors of public safety.

According to KTSU-TV, Stephenson said, "This is all about revenue. It’s not about safety... I don’t believe policemen should be looking to meet a quota on bad behavior. What if there isn’t enough bad behavior? Do you just have to make it up?"

Most Utah police departments, like most police departments throughout the country, claim that the bill is unnecessary because they allegedly do not have ticket quotas. However, Ian Adams of the Utah Fraternal Order of Police, disagreed, telling KTSU that "quotas absolutely exist" and promising the union's support for the bill.

In explaining the need for the bill, Stephenson cited an op-ed published by the libertarian Libertas Institute of Utah, which set forth evidence that a number of Utah police departments do, in fact, use quota systems, contrary to the official claims of those police departments.

If the bill passes, Utah would join a number of other states that have outlawed ticket quotas for local police departments, including Illinois, California, Pennsylvania and New York.

However, even where states have outlawed quotas by state law, civil liberties advocates and police unions have often been forced to sue local police departments who have allegedly continued to use unofficial quota programs to punish officers who do not write enough tickets.

 
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