Atlanta police may soon be handing out traffic tickets like Halloween candy.
According to an email obtained by local television station WSBTV, police were notified that traffic ticket money will fund future pay raises. Sent by police union President Ken Allen, the email explains because of new budget restrictions, pay raises will have to be funded through traffic tickets and court revenue.
“The mayor has designated traffic court/ticket revenue for future pay increases ... (This is) the first time ever that a revenue stream has been designated to salaries,” Allen told officers in the email. “Future pay increases are in our hands. We need only enforce traffic violations as we are now, but increase our attendance in court to prevent cases being dismissed."
Understandably the new policy has led to concerns that linking pay raises to tickets creates an incentive for police to issue more citations, but the Mayor’s Office and Allen insist there’s no push to write more tickets.
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“A bunch of people get out of legitimate traffic citations that have already been issued that are beating the system based on how the system is running,” Allen said. He claimed that enforcement of traffic laws won't change.
A representative for the mayor’s office stated: “There is no push to increase revenues through the writing of additional tickets,” according to WSBTV.
Some drivers in the city are not necessarily buying the city’s claim.
“I’m probably going to switch from sales and join the police force in that case, if that's the way it's working,” Ken Miller said.