The L.A. Department of Transportation denies reports that traffic officers work under ticket quotas, particularly when they're assigned overtime, but the story seems to have legs.
After recently retired traffic officer Larry Randolph came forward to tell his ticket tale, another retired LADOT employee followed up and said some of the same.
The second officer took his story to the Los Angeles Parking Freedom Initiative, which has been trying to get City Hall to stop using tickets as a device to balance its budget:
That officer, who did not want to be named, says that overtime work is for writing tickets and doing little else. Officers normally have to do more than cite parking violators. They have to close roads, help cops impound cars and direct traffic.
But the retiree confirms that, with overtime, there's pressure to write up alleged violators.
Randolph alleged that overtime shifts came with strings attached that included a mandate of eight tickets per hour. If officers didn't bring home that bacon, then they wouldn't get more overtime anytime soon, he said.
State law prohibits ticket quotas.
The anonymous officer said that employees were expected to write as many tickets as possible during their overtime shifts.
He confirmed what Randolph said about pressure to write tickets:
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In order to meet the demands of their bosses, some officers allegedly resorted to issuing notices for borderline violations such as having a bumper barely hanging over a red portion of a curb.
The allegations are alarming in a city where parking is a stressful issue, a $63 ticket can amount to a regressive tax for the working poor, and City Hall is pretty clearly relying on tickets for revenue.
The Los Angeles Parking Freedom Initiative is aiming to put a measure on the ballot that would limit both the cost and the kinds of tickets parking officers dole out.