In April 2009, Kenneth Burton became Columbia’s new police chief. Soon after his arrival came an increase in the number of traffic citations issued by the Columbia Police Department.
Columbia traffic officers wrote over 3,000 more traffic citations in 2009 than in 2008, according to Columbia police statistics.
Burton’s belief is that slapping an individual with an actual citation instead of a warning will lessen the chance of a repeat violation. In turn, he expects Columbia police officers to issue, on average, three citations per hour. But, Burton maintains that the number itself isn’t a quota — it’s just a way to see more tickets at the end of the day.
Dictionary.com defines a quota as "the share or proportional part of a total that is required from, or is due or belongs to, a particular district, state, person, group, etc." and "a proportional part or share of a fixed total amount or quantity."
According to a previous Missourian story, “Traffic officers wrote an average of 64.8 citations per day in 2009, a 17.2 percent increase from the 2008 average of 55.3 citations written per day. Last June, officers reached the highest per day average in a single month in the past few years, amassing 79.1 citations per day.”
The purpose of the citations is to make the community safer. “The goal is fewer accidents, injuries and, hopefully, a lower overall crime rate,” Burton said.
Do you think Police Chief Kenneth Burton is imposing a citation quota for the Columbia Police Department? Do you think the new chief’s stance is making traffic safer?