CT Cops to keep $10 for each ticket they write...

NOFX

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Surcharge to be tacked on traffic tickets for towns and cities

Associated Press

Published July 2 2006

WEST HARTFORD, Conn. -- Speeding up Route 44 toward the crest of Avon Mountain, the silver Toyota Camry was an easy target for West Hartford Officer Kerry Cloukey's radar gun.

The driver ended up with a $185 speeding ticket, given with a friendly but firm warning about being more cautious on that dangerous road.

Although local taxpayers fund the time and work of patrol officers like Cloukey, municipalities receive none of the money from the tickets issued on their streets.

That's about to change.

Starting this month, a new Connecticut law adds $10 to every ticket issued for speeding, failure to yield, making an illegal turn and dozens of other moving violations.

Then, four times each year, the judicial branch will forward those $10-per-ticket surcharges to the municipalities whose police department issued the citations.

Police and city leaders pushed lawmakers for years to share the bounty of traffic-ticket fines, which currently go into the state's accounts. Now that it's about to happen, though, the change is raising questions.

"This has nothing to do with deterring speeding or increasing safety. It's fundraising for police departments, pure and simple," said Sheldon Wishnick of Newington, the Connecticut coordinator for the National Motorists Association.

Some people worry that the promise of $10 per ticket could motivate some communities to set high ticketing quotas when they need to fill budget gaps.

Others raise a broader principle: whether adding a moneymaking element undercuts the claim that ticketing is essentially altruistic, intended to save lives by deterring future bad behavior.

West Hartford Police Chief James Strillacci said that always was a balm: Officers could truthfully ensure peeved motorists that the town wasn't gaining even one slim dime by issuing a ticket.

"OK, we do lose that," Strillacci said, "but in the bigger sense, this change is good because the Legislature is acknowledging that local police departments do the lion's share of traffic enforcement."

State Rep. Jim Shapiro, D-Stamford, one of several lawmakers who sponsored the legislation, believes the extra fee will deter speeders while helping municipalities cover some of their ticketing costs.

"If you play by the rules, if you follow the law, your money will remain safely in your wallet where it should be," Shapiro said during a public hearing this spring on the topic. "For those who don't, and for those who practice dangerous behavior ... they will have earned this fee and, hopefully, they will learn from it."

More than 378,000 tickets were issued in Connecticut in the fiscal year that ended in June 2005, bringing in about $27.7 million in fines, according to state records.

However, budget-strapped cities and towns can't guarantee themselves a windfall by setting up speed traps and issuing extra tickets. Fines are often reduced when drivers fight citations, so the reimbursement is guaranteed only on tickets that drivers pay without going to court.

"It's not going to be a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. We all know that and it wasn't the motivation," said Strillacci, one of the chiefs who pushed for the change.

Although lawmakers often discussed the proposal at public hearings in past years, it moved quietly through the General Assembly this spring and won final approval one day before the session ended in May.

"It definitely happened under the radar screen," said state Rep. Michael Lawlor, D-East Haven, who voted against the measure because he considered the bill "extremely simplistic and not well-written."

Even putting aside questions about fairness to motorists and principles of public safety, he said, the sheer logistics will make it difficult for the courts to calculate and remit the surcharges without major headaches.

"My prediction is that it's going to turn into a complete and total failure," Lawlor said. "I see this turning out much more controversial and complicated than people think."
 

DarkFox

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that might become a trend nationwide. i dont like it, they already paid by the hour, now they get a piece of the money just for giving drivers a piece of paper. i hope it doesn't happen in bama. they're already "blitzing" here and are all over the place.
 


Mr. Jollypants

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I don't think you guys get it.. If you read, you would know it's going to the DEPARTMENT, not the policemen. It's to help cover costs.
 


Revolver

Oct 10th
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DarkFox said:
...i dont like it, they already paid by the hour, now they get a piece of the money just for giving drivers a piece of paper...
More funding to an office or department from cops doing a very dangerous part of their job is all right by me.
 

Mr. Jollypants

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Revolver said:
More funding to an office or department from cops doing a very dangerous part of their job is all right by me.
:thumbs up :headbang: :wstupid:
 

LowNotSlow

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meh. Don't speed and it won't be an issue.
 

Wolfy

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Hell, go for it. In my opinion, Paramedics, Cops, and Teachers don't get paid nearly what they should.
 




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