The Illinois Senate last week passed a bill outlawing law enforcement in Illinois from establishing ticket quotas.
I certainly understand the concern about police loading up on unwarranted tickets just to make a quota. Anytime you establish such a policy, it is ripe for abuse.
Police might be inspired, especially toward the end of the month, to load up on a hapless driver’s infractions just to make a quota. The individual officer’s discretion about issuing warnings as a way to control traffic patterns and protect someone’s safety is taken out of the picture.
In these tough times, I can also see how some local governments would consider ticket quotas as a way to make easy money. After all, raising revenue is the whole idea behind red light cameras. Issue more citations and collect the cash.
But the real issue isn’t quotas and it isn’t about raising revenue for area municipalities.
The issue is about traffic safety, or, more plainly, how do we keep people from getting killed on our highways? And for that, I think we need good, old-fashioned law enforcement.
I drive a lot, and I think speeding is a big problem in Illinois. Everywhere I go, I see cars zooming past me. When I try to just keep up with traffic, I am flying way beyond the posted speed limit.
When I drive the speed limit, or just a little slower, the driver behind me invariably give me the horn, the highbeams, the tailgate and eventually the finger until I speed up or they pass me.
State officials must think speeding is a problem, too. Signs on the area expressways and tollways constantly remind drivers how many of us have been killed on the highways this year.
And why is speeding such a problem? Why do we flaunt the law so flagrantly in Illinois?
I think because the law isn’t enforced.
I rarely see anyone pulled over by a squad car, much less even see a police car on the expressways or tollways. Unless I cross the border into Wisconsin. Up in northern Lake County, it is myth that Kenosha County cops are just waiting for us Illinois drivers to come barreling into Wisconsin. So we drive more slowly once we cross that border.
But back in Illinois, it is step on the gas and go.
Ticket quotas are probably a bad idea. It is the lazy manager’s way to run a police department. After all, retired police officers become police chiefs somewhere else.
But I have no problem with police departments cracking down on speeders all over the state. If not wearing a seat belt, texting and talking on a hand held cell phone are all too dangerous to be permitted, why is speeding still the norm around here?