Got Your Quota Yet?

Police OfficerGot your quota yet? It was a jab that I heard often at the roadside and some days I really wanted to respond to it. "Yes, thank you. This ticket means I get a new toaster!" Somehow I don't think the driver would have seen any humour in it.

Seriously though, I have only been subject to a quota twice in 20 years of traffic policing. Near the beginning of my service I was limited to no more than 30 percent of my total charges being speeding tickets and at the end I was required to complete at least 6 impaired driving investigations per year. Sadly, it was harder to limit the speeding tickets than it was to find impaired drivers.

This topic surfaced again a couple of weeks ago when I heard from someone who was not happy to learn that police officers had to have preferred at least 10 impaired driving charges in the calendar year to become a member of Alexa's Team. This person had been stopped for speeding, but was surprised to have the constable first ask if he had been drinking. He left with what he felt was an undeserved speeding ticket that was used as an excuse to find impaired drivers. This is a conflict to be a public servant and a member of any group requiring enforcement minimums to join.

I suspect that if this person had not been speeding he would not have been stopped in the first place. What's wrong with asking any driver if they have consumed liquor or not? I didn't ask, I just stuck my head up to the open window and took a good sniff. If I smelled liquor then I would ask to see if the driver would lie about it or not. That was always a good indication that they were worried about their level of impairement as most that had a glass of wine or beer at dinner would tell you about it.

Following what I considered to be good management practices, my supervisors had to pay attention to numbers. All other things being equal, if I was bringing in 10 tickets a shift while my co-workers were all bringing in 20, someone wasn't doing his job. What would you do with an employee that you were paying who wasn't producing a reasonable output?

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