Oklahoma drivers have long believed that whether they receive tickets, or just warnings, from Highway Patrol Troopers depended upon a “quota” system that was imposed upon them by the State of Oklahoma.
The State of Oklahoma, and the Oklahoma Highway Patrol, have always denied the existence of any such quotas, UNTIL NOW.
The Highway Patrol has recently admitted that in 2013 it will start using a new “formula” (i.e. quota system) to evaluate trooper performance based, in part, upon the number of tickets and arrests they make. The Patrol states it will utilize its “patrol monitoring programs” as part of its troopers’ quarterly review process as a means of enhancing its goals to promote and ensure public safety--reducing auto accident rates.
Several troopers have anonymously stated they are concerned that the incorporating of such quotas into the evaluations upon which their promotions and/or pay raises are based will adversely affect their discretion to give warnings, as opposed to tickets, and will be detrimental to the way the public views them.
The quotas in question vary depending upon which troop/county the troopers are assigned, as well as to which shift (day, evening, overnight) they work. Troopers who make stops in accident-prone corridors located in their patrol areas are “rewarded” on their evaluations.
Typical areas covered by the quotas include seat belt enforcement contacts (i.e. 200-300 contacts expected each year), traffic contacts expected per patrol hour (1.35-1.95 expected per hour), traffic contacts resulting in ticket/arrests (30-40 % expected), number of Alcohol related arrests per year ( 10-30 rural counties, 15-65 counties with large urban populations). Evening shift troopers, patrolling major urban counties, will be expected to produce statistics which triple the numbers of the other work shifts in their own counties or surrounding rural patrol areas.
It should be noted that a fee generated by traffic citations resulted in deposits of almost 10 million dollars for a Highway Patrol account primarily intended for the purchase of replacement cruisers.
So, the next time you get stopped by a Trooper, and he gives you a ticket instead of a warning, you can legitimately wonder whether you are a victim of Oklahoma’s new, and admitted, quota system.
Mon, February 11, 2013
by Jeff Saxton