Taxation by Citation: Connecticut State Police E-Mail Reveals Ticket-Writing Quotas


By William Grigg

Ticket-writing by quota is a competitive sport in which all motorists are fair game, as depicted in an internal e-mail memorandum written by Lt. Frank Schirillo of the Connecticut State Police.

Starting at midnight, March 30, patrols would be expanded, and encouraged to engage in a ticket-writing binge, Schirillo explained. “I am asking that everyone, myself included, contribute to this effort,” stated the e-mail, which was obtained by WTNH-TV. “[W] have to issue at least 60 infractions / Misdemeanors each shift for a total of 180 infractions in order to outperform both Troop F and Troop G…. One day Troop F issued 301 tickets. Troop G responded by issuing 345 in one day. We can do better…” The State Police Troop that harvested the greatest amount of citations would be rewarded with pizza.

“NOTE if we happen to issue 350 tickets in one day that would be stellar,” Schirillo concluded.

Seeking to maintain the official fiction that ticket-writing is something other than an exercise in “taxation by citation” carried out by unionized revenue farmers, Connecticut State Police spokesman Lt. J. Paul Vance fired off an angry e-mail missive to WTNH denying that the ticket-writing binge followed a “quota system.”

“This is not a joke or a game,” protested Lt. Vance said. “It’s a troop commanders’ attempt to stimulate his personnel to enhance highway safety and this goes on all across the state. You will see enhanced enforcement as we continue along in the spring months.”

Ironically, some of the most pointed criticism of the quota system-by-any-other-name was offered by Andrew Matthews of the state police union.

“Troopers are expected to do their job,” Matthews insisted. “We will do our job, but we don’t need to be told we need a certain number of tickets within a specified period of time.”

That “job,” of course, is primarily to rake in revenue. Matthews, like practically everybody else in the racket called “law enforcement,” concerned primarily with the holy imperative of “officer safety,” and points out that imposing quotas and other performance goals on officers will enhance the risks they face. However, he is also concerned about the fact that revenue-collecting rampage will have a huge and painful impact on economically afflicted motorists: “Whether it’s motivational or a quota, it’s disturbing to us because at a time when the taxpayers are out of work ’cause they’re unemployed, or gas is $4 a gallon and unemployment is like around 9%, now is not the time to be just issuing tickets to generate revenue.”

Actually, there is no proper time to use tickets as a revenue stream. The practice is forbidden by statutes in every state – and quietly carried out by police departments in every jurisdiction.