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New evidence links South Carolina police to speeding ticket quotas

Evidence has surfaced that could establish some truth to the long-time theory that police departments enforce monthly quotas on their officers, or goals as to how many speeding tickets they should write each month.

One Horry County trooper's March 2010 email contained a breakdown of these goals for officers. The memo that a trooper sent to 10 other police officers went into detail, separating moving violation goals into categories like speeding tickets, warnings, seat belt violations and even DUIs. The memo included goals for how many speeding tickets each officer should write every month and how many DUIs they should handle each year. According to the memo, each officer had a monthly goal of 40 speeding tickets, and a yearly goal of 42 DUI arrests.

In addition, a Highway Patrol spokesperson responded to the allegations by suggesting that the goals were merely guidelines to help officers, not quotas that carried possibility of punishment for not meeting them. According to the spokesman's response, setting goals for troopers is "no different" than setting manufacturing goals for a factory worker.

Still, representatives from organizations like the South Carolina Troopers Association feel that such quotas give police officers a bad image, suggesting that they're more interested in playing a numbers game than handling traffic violations impartially, fairly and safely.

While many people choose not to fight a speeding ticket in court, it can often be in your best interest to do so. Even a speeding ticket can add points to your driving record that can result in higher insurance rates. Experienced South Carolina defense attorneys know that there are ways to challenge traffic violations.

Source: WIS News, "Highway Patrol denies that memo proves troopers use quotas," Jody Barr, Oct. 4, 2011

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