News & Politics

Pay Raises for Atlanta Cops Will Be Funded By Traffic Tickets

An e-mail obtained by a local news outlet reveals that the Atlanta mayor has "designated traffic court/ticket revenue for future pay increases."

An e-mail obtained by a local news outlet in Atlanta reveals that traffic ticket money will pay for future pay raises for the police force in the city. The Atlanta mayor’s office insists that this won’t fuel a push for more traffic tickets. What could go wrong with this policy?

A lot, probably. As an Atlanta police source toldWSBTV, “there are concerns that linking pay raises to tickets creates an indirect quota system.” A source added: “The plan could make officers work toward increasing citations, in hopes of a higher wage.”

The e-mail to Atlanta cops came from police union President Ken Allen. “The mayor has designated traffic court/ticket revenue for future pay increases  ...  (This is) the first time ever that a revenue stream has been designated to salaries,” he wrote, according to the news outlet. “Future pay increases are in our hands. We need only enforce traffic violations as we are now, but increase our attendance in court to prevent cases being dismissed.”

Allen justified the policy by saying that there were drivers cited for traffic offenses that were getting away.

An Atlantic police representative told the news outlet that the department had not issued any statements encouraging officers to write more tickets. The representative also said that the department did not say that writing traffic tickets would be tied to compensation--despite the contents of the e-mail.

 

Alex Kane is former World editor at AlterNet. His work has appeared in Mondoweiss, Salon, VICE, the Los Angeles Review of Books and more. Follow him on Twitter @alexbkane.

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