Law enforcement officers with the California Highway Patrol and other agencies
do not like the idea of being perceived as having a quota. But many of
them do concede that there is more pressure to write tickets and create
a paper trail of their time rather than helping motorists and investigating
more serious traffic crimes than a speeding ticket.
In KernCounty there are officers who write up more than 200 tickets a month
on a consistent basis. Places like Highway 58 near Mojave, Highway 5 near
Lebec or Fort Tejon (under the jurisdiction of the Lamont Court), and
the new four lane stretch of the Highway 46 going out to Paso Robles (under
the jurisdiction of the Shafter Court) are good places to catch speeder
for officers under pressure to write more tickets.
Outside of California, this problem is oftentimes very direct. One police
officer in Alabama was recently fired for speaking out against ticket
and arrest quotas. He perceived the quotas as bullying and said that officers
were "required" to make 100 contacts every month in the form
of tickets, arrests, field interviews, and warnings. In his small town
of 50,000, that equated to 72,000 "contacts" per year.
The California Highway Patrol denies having a quota system and I believe
them. But there are more subtle ways to pressure officers to write more
tickets. Most officers prefer to be left to their own devices to determine
whether someone they pulled over should receive a ticket. But increased
pressure from Sacramento, courts, and some supervisors to write more tickets
can come in many different forms.
Challenging the merits of a traffic ticket is possible and winnable, but
you need an experienced traffic ticket attorney to help..