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Arizona lobby group: Police should not have traffic ticket quotas

PHOENIX — A newly proposed law at the state legislature could give Arizona residents a better chance to talk their way out of a traffic ticket.

Arizona House Bill 2376 would make it illegal for police departments throughout the state to establish a quota for the number of traffic citations its officers write.

The bill states:

This state or a political subdivision of this state may not implement traffic complaint quota requirements for a peace officer or duly authorized agent of a traffic enforcement agency.

“Quotas are rigid; they are hard numbers with a lack of flexibility, whereas a goal is an aspiration,” Arizona Police Association President Levi Bolton said.

The APA wrote and lobbied in support of the bill this year. Bolton said quotas take away an officer’s discretion to be lenient under certain circumstances.

“These men and woman do not get up in the morning looking to go out and tag somebody for speed or making an unsafe lane change,” he said. “Generally, if we can get away with an educational contact, I think most officers would prefer that over writing a ticket.”

The former police officer-turned-lobbyist said an officer should be allowed to give a warning, when appropriate, without worrying about the number of citations he or she has written.

“There is no excuse to be unsafe, but there might be sufficient mitigation that an officer can say that enforcement is not appropriate,” he said.

If the bill passes, Bolton said it could help re-establish trust with the public.

“We want to take a position of leadership to where we are attentive and listening to the public, but more importantly still keeping in mind our law enforcement objectives,” he said.