SPRINGFIELD - State Rep. Jeanne Ives (R-Wheaton) opposed a bill ending the practice of speeding ticket quotas in committee Thursday. Why would she do that? As a conservative, she's for smaller government, isn't she? She is, Rep. Ives says, and that's just the point. She writes:
Today in Springfield, members of the Labor and Commerce committee (I voted No) passed a bill that says police departments cannot have ticket quotas. Sounds great, a very populist position, maybe Mayor Emanuel wanted the bill since he reportedly has a heavy foot – or someone in his motorcade does.
But, do any of you think, or want, state legislators to write the Police Department Employee Handbook for your community? What this really was about is public sector labor – the Fraternal Order of Police, who asked for the bill – telling management what rules they want to be evaluated by. The Wheaton Police Chief had this to say about the bill:
There is no disagreement that arbitrary and capricious quotas should never be used by law enforcement.
Performance measures used to assist in the performance appraisal of professional police officers is a vital tool to ensure that my police officers are doing their job for which they are compensated. Such measures are not arbitrary and are grounded in specific data that gauges whether an individual police officer is performing the minimum standards set forth by me and my agency that they serve.
Chiefs of Police have long counseled their staff that traffic safety, while a worthwhile endeavor itself is not the only reason police officers enforce traffic laws. It is a critical tool that increases public safety and crime prevention by reducing the incidence of crime due to the omni-presence of the police performing their duties.
In response to testimony, the sponsor of the bill admitted that there is no current requirement to have a ticket quota, that some departments in fact do not use quota systems, and that some departments use other tools similar to a ticket quota system. Testimony also indicted “rogue” mayors and chiefs that want the revenue.
Gee, wonder who elected the mayor or hired the chief…and are we to write laws from Springfield to correct every local problem?
Here is what I know. If you have a problem with how your police chief is running the department, you should contact your elected officials and handle it at the local level. The last thing you want is a bunch of legislators from around the state telling your community how to run itself.
That’s exactly what happens now and it is the primary reason the state is in such a fiscal mess.
But we know who runs Springfield…and that’s why this bill flew through committee.