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More Traffic Tickets = More Revenue!

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

McHenry County, Illinois

More Traffic Tickets = More Revenue!

Gus Philpott
Woodstock Advocate
March 25, 2009

At last week's Woodstock City Council meeting I beat up pretty hard on the police department for its substantial increase in traffic tickets.

And what shows up on MSN.com News today?

Read this article! It describes exactly what is happening in Woodstock. A crackdown on tickets. Officers' writing tickets, here at least for relatively petty infractions, just to "produce" income for the City.

Is this something we want? Will we put up with it?

As I drove around today, I realized that I was probably jabbing Chief Bob Lowen a little too hard. While he is the enforcer (err, chief) at the P.D., he gets his orders from Tim Clifton, the City Manager. And Tim gets his orders from the Mayor, with the City Council behind him.

But I have never heard traffic enforcement and revenue-generation discussed at a City Council meeting, have you?

So where did this crackpot idea come from? For the little bit that dribbles back to the City from fines and/or court costs, is it fair to slam a driver with a $75 ticket and possible $150 in court costs, just so the City can collect a few dollars?

Those who know me, know that I am a proponent of fair, firm, impartial law enforcement.

When the Woodstock Police Department tickets a couple of drivers who forget to signal their right turns, where they have nothing to do but turn right, but a couple of years ago failed to ticket a deputy sergeant who ran a stop sign and hit a car driven by a young man who just happened to be the son of one of the members on the Woodstock Board of Fire and Police Commissioners, is there something wrong with how traffic violations are enforced in Woodstock?

By the way, that one never made it to the newspapers. Or if it did, it never got published.

OK, so I'm comparing something old with something new. I'll admit it.

Here's how we get this nonsense stopped. It won't stop just because I wrote an article. It won't stop if only two or three people complain to the City - I mean, to the City Manager or to the Mayor. It will stop if several dozen or 100 people show up at one City Council meeting and claim their right to three (3) minutes of time at the microphone. Just imagine 100 speakers at three minutes each. Add in a little travel time from the seats to the microphone, and the City Council will be there 5+ hours.

Insist on no break! Make them sit there and take it. Think they'd get the message that the People are not going to put up with having the police department become a profit center for the City?

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