Washington Senate passes bill prohibiting police ticket quotas


OLYMPIA, Wash. — The Washington State Senate has passed a bill to discourage law enforcement from using traffic ticket quotas.

Senate Bill 6316 was introduced by Senator Jeff Holy, a former Spokane Police officer. Sen. Holy said he was aware of the perception that police officers issue tickets to motorists in order to reach a daily “quota.”

The bill would prevent tickets that officers issue from factoring into their evaluations, salaries or eligibility for promotions.

“This really is an integrity-in-law-enforcement bill that is long overdue,” said Sen. Holy, “Many people believe that some law enforcement agencies order officers to issue tickets, which in effect creates a ticket quota system. This is damaging to the integrity of law enforcement as a whole in Washington. My bill aims to prevent that from happening.”

In his floor speech to the Senate, Holy explained that Arizona, California, Florida, Illinois, Missouri, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee and Texas have all passed similar laws prohibiting ticket quotas.

“Several other states have recognized this problem and have addressed it, but Washington has yet to do so,” said Holy. “I’ve been retired as an officer for 14 years and I know we had traffic citation ‘productivity expectations’ when I was on patrol as far back as the 1980s. There is a reason why law enforcement officers have discretion. An officer’s ability to make an independent decision allows them to apply the level of enforcement action they believe to be appropriate for the situation. An officer being directed to apply enforcement action to comply with an employer policy or ticket quota reflects badly on law enforcement.”

Holy previously introduced an identical measure, House Bill 2399, in 2016 while serving as a state representative.

The Senate passed the Senate bill unanimously on Friday, and it is currently in committee at the House of Representatives.