By Mitch Smith
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — Legislation signed Sunday by Gov. Pat Quinn bans Illinois police departments from assigning ticket quotas and evaluating officers based on how many citations they issue.
Quinn, a Democrat, said the new law will allow police to use their judgment in deciding whether to ticket a driver. The law, which applies to local, county and state law enforcement, took effect immediately.
"Law enforcement officers should have discretion on when and where to issue traffic citations and not be forced to ticket motorists to satisfy a quota system," the governor said in a news release. "This new law will improve safety and working conditions for police officers and prevent motorists from facing unnecessary anxiety when they encounter a police vehicle."
The law prevents police departments from assigning an officer a specific number of citations to issue in a given period of time and also stops agencies from comparing officers based on how many tickets they write.
The measure passed both chambers of the General Assembly with overwhelming majorities, earning approval in the House with 106 votes in favor and nine against. Only one senator voted against the measure, with 57 voting for its passage.
State Rep. Jay Hoffman sponsored the bill in the House and, in Quinn's news release, touted the law as a way to better deploy officers and improve relations between police and the public.
"Arbitrary quotas on the number of tickets that have to be issued by police officers undermines the public trust in the police departments' priorities," said Hoffman, a Democrat from suburban St. Louis. "By eliminating these quotas, we can restore that trust and ensure that police officers are free to do their job protecting the public."
McClatchy-Tribune News Service
Copyright 2014 the Chicago Tribune