If you drive through Hopkinton, RI, keep this in mind: The officers you see are each required to write 20 traffic tickets per month, “more or less,” under a new Police Department policy.
Excuses, like being busy doing something else, or having taken vacation days, “are not acceptable,” Lt. Daniel C. Baruti said in a March 3 internal e-mail that spells out the policy.
Drivers who think they have been ticketed unfairly often suspect that they were cited because of a police quota rather than their driving. The police almost universally deny that quotas exist.
The e-mail says, in bold, italic type, “Do not forward this e-mail.”
Baruti, Police Chief John S. Scuncio and Town Manager William A. DiLibero acknowledged Hopkinton’s policy after The Journal obtained a copy of the e-mail.
However, they denied that it amounts to a ticket quota. Instead, the lieutenant described the numerical goal as a “target.” He said he was surprised that the term “quota” has popped up. “I didn’t even think of the word ‘quota’ ” until a sergeant brought it up, he said.
Baruti and the other local officials said that the policy is a management tool intended to make the police more productive. Although it has drawn some criticism, Baruti said, the policy is legal and that they have no intention of abandoning it.
The practical effect, Baruti said, “is that somebody who offended and might have gotten off, won’t get off and will get a ticket after all.”
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