Last month, rookie Republican governor of Virginia may have quashed any partisan quarrelling in his state following his unexpected election. How? By abolishing traffic ticket and arrest quotas for police.
Glenn Youngkin signed the law with total bipartisan support, joining 20 other states that have issued similar bans.
The National Motorists Association says that “a speed trap exists wherever traffic enforcement is focused on extracting revenue from drivers instead of improving safety.”
To that end, Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Iowa, Louisiana Montana, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Wisconsin have all passed legislation barring, in different ways, the establishment of ticketing quotas—or ticket numbers as a prominent part of performance evaluation.
Now, Alabama and Virginia have too.
Inter-state banter is common across many sectors. For example people might say that anyone who thinks D.C. traffic is bad hasn’t seen L.A. traffic, or that Chicago pizza is too doughy, and therefore New York pizza is better.
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It’s difficult, however, to conjure examples of everyday over-policing like a Virginian can.
Take this “standard of protection” expected of Alexandria officers for example. It requires them to issue 8 tickets per 10 shift hours or face “performance improvement courses.”
In fiscal 2019, Virginia generated a staggering $298 million in revenue from fines, fees, and forfeitures—the fourth-highest in the nation.
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When the bill hit committee Sen. Dick Saslaw, he was confused they even existed at all.
“You used to hear about these all the time many, many, many, many years ago,” the senator said. “I thought that was pretty much something that was done away with, you’re saying it still exists?”
By curtailing quotas, Virginia drivers will hopefully free themselves from a long-tolerated state characteristic of over-policing—not to mention the terrible traffic resulting from countless officers stopping in the right lane to bother someone about a taillight, cracked windscreen, or traveling 5 over the speed limit.
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