Thread: Speed Traps
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Old 04-20-2010, 09:39 AM   #21
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Default fines vs warnings

Originally Posted by SAMIAM View Post
I noticed in the police report in the Meredith News a while back that the Meredith PD had 33 traffic stops for the week but only two tickets. All the rest were warnings. An expesive ticket can mean a bill doesn't get paid that week for lots of folks and I congratulate the chief for giving people a break for minor infractions....especially in this economy. I'm sure the two that got written up deserved it.

I agree with 90% of this post with one exception. It is not the chief or any chief that determines who gets warnings or money fines etc, it is the officer on the stop. Because quotas are illegal and to my knowledge not used in any dept I know of, the officer on the stop has the sole discretion as to what the outcome of the stop will be. Many dept's have policies about "preferred responses" but they are not binding nor enforceable. Again I agree with most of this post, a warning, be it written or verbal, serves the purpose in 99% of all stops. A money fine is reserved for serious issues and repeat offenders that don't get the message. As a police officer, I refuse to be an agent for the insurance company (because as we know the insurance company is the only one that wins when someone gets a large ticket).

A senior officer once rationalized it like this-
When you pull someone over, regardless of the outcome, ticket, warning etc, it is a huge issue for them. It is more than likely all they talk about all day long. They tell all their friends and family about how they got stopped today. This tells me that the incident left a meaningful impact on them and, chances are, they will remember it AND THE REASON for the stop in the first place ie, speeding etc, for some time. You have now done your job and served your purpose as a police officer. However, as a police officer that makes literally 20-50 "routine stops" per week they all run together and we forget what a large impact the stop has on a normal person. In other words, you don't need to ruin someones day with a money fine to do your job...

Again, just my .02 cents
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