CHICAGO (CBS) — A group of police officers claim they’re being forced to pick on the residents of their own Northwest Indiana town because of ticket quotas.
St. John Police Corporal Steven Rudzinski told CBS 2 last week that he and other patrolmen were given a “mandate” to issue two tickets and one warning every day. Rudzinski alleges that his Chief James Kveton threatened to take away additional assignments or limit them from working outside jobs if they don’t meet the “performance standard” that’s required of them.
In a letter to the St. John Town Council last week, Rudzinski called the practice “unethical.”
“So they’re forcing us to write tickets to people we really don’t think deserve one,” Rudzinski said.
An analysis of traffic stop data from Sunday shows each St. John unit performing at least three stops a day.
While the idea of fulfilling a quota may not sit well with residents, there’s no Indiana law that says officers can’t.
“The traffic quota – while technically not illegal like they are in Illinois – instead of calling traffic quotas they call them performance standards,” said Criminal Defense Attorney Michael A. Campbell.
The situation is much different in Illinois and about 20 other states that have acted to ban assigning ticket quotas and evaluating officers based on how many citations they issue. But as Campbell explained, what’s legal on the surface could be argued as “unreasonable search and seizure,” which could be a violation the constitution.
“Then it starts to beg the question, “Are all the stops legitimate?” And if not, then you’ve got some pretty serious issues going on with the state and federal constitution,” Campbell said.
Police Chief James Kveton did not respond to multiple requests for comment.