Productivity quotas are helpful in many industries so that the people in charge know that their employees are using their time to advance the business. While some jobs are simpler to measure than others, there are often still standards.
When it is time to measure police performance, one controversial technique is to have traffic ticket quotas. Although writing a certain number of tickets suggests productivity, it also implies profit (and not public safety) as a motive for writing tickets.
Traffic ticket quotas were recently discussed in an Illinois Supreme Court case. Here’s what you should know about the court’s decision regarding quotas.
Quotas prohibited since 2014
In 2014, the Illinois legislature passed a law that would prohibit quotas. It would seem like the law would make any further discussion regarding quotas moot.
After the law passed, the city of Sparta thought they had a clever way to work around the law to measure police productivity, while still not enforcing quotas.
The dawn and dusk of activity points
Activity points initially meant that Sparta officers were required to reach a certain number of “points” for their performance evaluations. Officers earned points for actions, including:
- Writing citations
- Issuing a warning on a traffic stop
- Agreeing to extra duties
Although officers could get points for non-citation activities, the court still agreed with the police union that the policy was too similar to requiring quotas. This change could make officer evaluation challenging for cities in Illinois.
For now, the issue of quotas is settled. However, some municipalities are planning to look to the state legislature for a different solution to measure police productivity.