Virginia police union demands end to ticket-writing quotas

Should ticket-writing quotas be banned in Virginia? A police union that represents 750 state troopers says it’s working with members of the General Assembly to write a law that would make such quotas illegal.

The Virginia Police Benevolent Association says quotas shouldn’t be allowed because they increase negative interactions with the public and are an outdated and ineffective form of policing. Eliminating quotas, the union said, would decrease the number of arbitrary tickets written and improve relations between police officers and the community.

State police officials deny that they impose quotas on troopers. But the Richmond Times-Dispatch obtained an email in which a supervisor told his troopers they should write at least five tickets a day.

The police acknowledged the email to the newspaper, but said the supervisor was talking about benchmarks — not quotas. Another supervisor — a senior state police commander — also recently told troopers in an email they should be writing at least five tickets a day, or else their evaluations would be poor.

The union claims troopers could even be fired.

The state police admitted to the Times-Dispatch that it evaluates troopers based on the number of tickets they write, but it says supervisors also look at other factors.

Ticket quotas are illegal in California, New York, Florida, Texas and other states, over worries that quotas motivate police to unnecessarily write tickets.

Chris Cruise

Christopher Cruise is a writer, reporter and anchor at WTOP. He has worked at The Voice of America, where he anchored newscasts for the Learning English branch. He is a backup host for Westwood’s morning radio news programs, “America in the Morning” and “First Light,” and contributes to them weekly.

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