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Old 01-16-2013, 01:00 PM   #1
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Traffic Citations Plummet in Major Texas Cities

http://www.officer.com/news/10847378...r-texas-cities

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If you've gotten a traffic ticket in Austin lately, consider yourself extra unlucky.

The number of traffic tickets issued by Austin police has been plummeting -- from 264,428 in 2009 to 133,852 in the 2012 fiscal year, which ended Sept. 30. That works out to 358 fewer tickets per day -- or 15 per hour.

"That's fine with me," said Jay Epparo, a grocery truck driver from Sulphur Springs who makes deliveries to Austin at least once a week and got his last speeding ticket here three years ago. "If they are writing less (tickets), that means they aren't bothering me as much."

Austin isn't alone: Nine of the state's 10 most populous cities had fewer traffic cases filed in municipal court in 2011 than the previous year, according to statistics from the state Office of Court Administration. (San Antonio was the lone exception, with 16 percent more traffic cases.)

Even Texas Department of Public Safety troopers issued an average of 443 fewer tickets per day in 2011 than they did in 2008 on Texas highways -- a 14 percent drop, although the number remained virtually the same from 2010 to 2011. The slowdown has come as the state's population continues to grow.

But with traffic fatalities soaring in 2012, the falling ticket numbers bother Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo, who says there's a direct link between traffic enforcement and public safety.

"Traffic enforcement is absolutely key to our overall strategy of keeping Austin safe," Acevedo said. "It's about saving lives and reducing the chaos on our highways and our streets."

So why aren't his officers writing more tickets? The chief and the union disagree about some of the reasons.

Acevedo said Austin police are so busy responding to calls for service that they have less down time when they can write traffic tickets. The chief sent an email to the entire department Dec. 6 instructing officers to write more tickets and issue fewer warnings when they stop motorists.

Acevedo said that police have more territory to cover as the city's boundaries expand through annexation and that officers are frequently pulled from patrol duty to help with big special events such as Formula One and the South by Southwest music festival.

Another factor, Acevedo said, is the temporary loss of grant money that pays for traffic enforcement.

In January 2008, the department began receiving about $850,000 in grant money each year from the U.S. Department of Transportation's Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to help pay officers' overtime for traffic enforcement -- resulting in about 17,000 tickets per year, police officials said. The department didn't receive the grant in 2010, although it was reinstated in 2011.

Sgt. Wayne Vincent, president of the Austin Police Association, agreed that the department is stretched thin and officers have little to no time between calls to make traffic stops. But Vincent added that some officers might also be reluctant to make traffic stops because they can lead to complaints that may bring unwanted scrutiny from supervisors.

"We've got a punishment mentality down here in which officers will be put through the grinder at the slightest misconduct," Vincent said. "When you have an organization that has no tolerance for mistakes, you create a workforce that is afraid to work."

"It's disappointing to hear Sgt. Vincent describe his membership as not being a working group of police officers," Acevedo said.

Fewer tickets elsewhere

Other states, including Ohio and Florida, have also reported a drop in traffic tickets in recent years. But there's no national repository of traffic ticket data, so it's hard to tell whether it's a national trend, said John Bowman, communications director for the National Motorists Association.

The Office of Court Administration statistics paint a mixed picture of police activity on Central Texas roads:

--In Leander, the number of traffic cases plunged 45 percent between 2009 and 2011, and in Georgetown, the number plummeted about 34 percent over the same period.
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Old 01-16-2013, 01:13 PM   #2
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cops so lazy they cant enforce traffic laws....WTF...maybe their quota prizes suck now???
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Old 01-16-2013, 01:41 PM   #3
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cops so lazy they cant enforce traffic laws....WTF...maybe their quota prizes suck now???
Does someone need a donut?
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Old 01-16-2013, 03:10 PM   #4
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cops so lazy they cant enforce traffic laws....WTF...maybe their quota prizes suck now???
Nah. MH cop-bashing threads are standard turnout reading material now and they don't want to be one of "those guys." All the finally paid off.
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Old 01-16-2013, 03:18 PM   #5
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My . Just got one this morning...
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Old 01-16-2013, 03:21 PM   #6
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The increased speed limit on a lot of hwys have something to do with it?
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Old 01-16-2013, 03:23 PM   #7
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Most likely people are sick of being taxed and their rights taken away, the last thing they need is some cop fleecing them for $300 because they drove over 10mph
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Old 01-16-2013, 03:24 PM   #8
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Most likely people are sick of being taxed and their rights taken away, the last thing they need is some cop fleecing them for $300 because they drove over 10mph
I rest my case.
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Old 01-16-2013, 03:29 PM   #9
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Most likely people are sick of being taxed and their rights taken away, the last thing they need is some cop fleecing them for $300 because they drove over 10mph
That's funny cuz they popped me for 10 over. By a moto cop. I was in company's car.
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Old 01-16-2013, 03:40 PM   #10
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That's funny cuz they popped me for 10 over. By a moto cop. I was in company's car.
End of the world right? Tons of people getting stolen, higher taxes, rapes, murders...but they going to get a guy for going 10 over.
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Old 01-16-2013, 03:55 PM   #11
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That's funny cuz they popped me for 10 over. By a moto cop. I was in company's car.
What agency gave you the ticket?
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Old 01-16-2013, 04:11 PM   #12
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well, to begin with we know the austin police is chief is a bullshit con artist, he is lying thru his teeth... traffic tickets have nothing to do with public safety.. they are about revnue generation.. if they were really concerned with public safety, they would get the irresponsbile riders and drivers off the road,,,, take their license and vehicles..
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Old 01-16-2013, 04:28 PM   #13
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well, to begin with we know the austin police is chief is a bullshit con artist, he is lying thru his teeth... traffic tickets have nothing to do with public safety.. they are about revnue generation.. if they were really concerned with public safety, they would get the irresponsbile riders and drivers off the road,,,, take their license and vehicles..
So there is no correlation between the decreased ticket writing and rising number of motor vehicle related fatalities? Those damned liars!
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Old 01-16-2013, 05:33 PM   #14
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I see tickets handed out left and right.
I see even more terrible drivers still.

If there is a difference here, I haven't noticed.
Maybe all those liberal scumbags are causing all the uptight scumbags to go soft.

Or maybe Austin is too busy arresting people for writing love on the sidewalk with chalk.
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Old 01-16-2013, 06:55 PM   #15
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Tell that to the motorcycle police officer that gave me 4 citations in 2 traffic stops in 8 minutes...
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