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Only Oswego

Bill Aimed at Police Ticket Quotas Won't Affect Local Departments

Jun 16, 2014 01:39PM ● By Steven Jack
Maybe it's an urban myth. Maybe it's for real. 

Whichever is the case, police departments in Illinois who force ticket writing quotas on their officers are now banned from doing so. Gov. Pat Quinn signed legislation Sunday prohibiting quotas, but Oswego Police Chief Dwight Baird and a spokesman for Kendall County Sheriff's office said the law will have no affect on their departments because they don't use quotas when it comes to writing tickets.

"In my 22 years here we've never had quotas for tickets," Baird said. "... My philosophy is that we just want compliance. How our officers choose to gain compliance is up to their own discretion."

Baird said while officers don't have monthly ticket quotas, they are encouraged to make a certain amount of stops per shift. Those stops don't always end in tickets being issued, Baird said, and officers are asked to be consistent when writing up tickets and warnings. 

The new law, which also prevents departments from using quotas from evaluating an officer's performance, is meant to "maintain integrity in local government.," Quinn said. 

“Law enforcement officers should have discretion on when and where to issue traffic citations and not be forced to ticket motorists to satisfy a quota system,” Governor Quinn said. “This new law will improve safety and working conditions for police officers and prevent motorists from facing unnecessary anxiety when they encounter a police vehicle.”

Deputy Bryan Harl, a spokesman for the Kendall County Sheriff's office, said the new law will have no impact on the sheriff's office either.

"We don't use them and never have," he said. "There is no policy here about quotas. The sheriff's office allows deputies to use their own discretion."

Senate Bill 3411 was sponsored by State Senator Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill) and State Representative Jay Hoffman (D-Swansea).

Baird said he supports the bill and called it "common-sense" legislation. Though he said he doesn't believe quotas exist in any local municipalities, Baird said he's heard of situations where elected officials have pressured police to increasing tickets to help shore up budget deficits during tough economic times. 

"Our board or village presidents in Oswego has never said we should be writing more tickets," Baird said. "And quite honestly we really don't get that much money from writing them."