Dispelling Misconceptions: Traffic Ticket Quotas a Thing of the Past in Many States

Efforts to Foster Positive Community Relationships and Enhance Roadway Safety Take Precedence

New Jersey, USA – The age-old scenario of flashing blue lights in the rearview mirror, accompanied by a sinking feeling, is one that many drivers can relate to. As conversations surrounding traffic ticket quotas resurface, law enforcement agencies in various states, including New Jersey, find themselves dispelling misconceptions and emphasizing their commitment to community engagement and roadway safety.

The notion of officers having quotas to fulfill has long been a running joke, with drivers jokingly suggesting that police officers are driven by a “quota” to meet. However, the reality is quite different. In fact, several states have taken measures to prohibit or ban the existence of traffic ticket quotas, while penalties loom for areas that enforce such quotas.

States such as New Jersey, Alabama, and Tennessee have led the charge in discouraging practices that place undue pressure on law enforcement to meet ticket quotas. The focus has shifted towards fostering positive relationships with the community and improving overall road safety.

Alabama’s Lauderdale County Sheriff, Joe Hamilton, light-heartedly debunked the idea of ticket quotas by humorously stating, “Our ticket quota is right in line with our donut quota. Every ticket, we get a donut. Seriously, we do not have a quota on tickets, and it is my understanding that having such a quota is illegal.”

Chief Tony Logan of Alabama’s Tuscumbia Police Department affirmed their commitment to community engagement, stating, “We do not have any type of quotas on tickets, warnings, or arrests. The only thing we ask, not require, is that our officers try to have two contacts per 12-hour shift other than dispatched calls. This can involve visiting schools, daycares, businesses, or simply engaging with residents in our community. The primary goal is to strengthen our relationship with the community we serve.”

Numerous other police departments across the state echoed this sentiment, refuting any claims of ticket quotas.

Sgt. Rosalind White of the Huntsville Police Department in Alabama emphasized their proactive approach to traffic enforcement. She stated, “The Huntsville Police Department does not have a quota when it comes to traffic citations. Our focus is on educating the public about roadway safety and reducing traffic crashes in areas with a high incidence of accidents. Through the analysis of statistical data, we implement proactive traffic enforcement measures in locations prone to accidents. This often involves high-visibility saturation patrols or targeted traffic stops.”

As the conversation continues, it becomes evident that law enforcement agencies are committed to promoting community well-being and road safety. Rather than chasing arbitrary ticket quotas, their efforts are concentrated on fostering positive interactions, educating the public, and employing strategic enforcement measures to create safer roadways for all.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the publication or its affiliates.

Vehicle and Vessel Safety: New Jersey Kicks Off the Summer Season with a Focus on Safety

West Trenton, N.J. – As Memorial Day approaches, marking the unofficial start of summer and the official commencement of the summer driving season, thousands of motorists will take to New Jersey’s roadways. Whether their destination is the beautiful Jersey shore, serene lakes, state parks, or a gathering with loved ones, it is imperative that drivers exercise caution to prevent tragedies.

Last year’s Memorial Day weekend saw nine crashes resulting in ten fatalities. Shockingly, alcohol and/or drugs played a role in six of these incidents. Such avoidable tragedies can be prevented through simple measures such as calling a taxi, utilizing ride-sharing services like Uber or Lyft, arranging to stay with friends or family, or designating a sober driver.

To ensure a safer holiday weekend, the New Jersey State Police have planned an increase in traffic enforcement details statewide from Friday, May 26, to Tuesday, May 30. In addition to their usual high-profile patrols, the State Police will deploy 100 troopers on special details targeting aggressive driving, speeding, seatbelt usage, commercial vehicle enforcement, cell phone usage, distracted driving, and driving while intoxicated (DWI). Motorists are urged to remain alert and avoid driving while drowsy, as the symptoms of fatigue are similar to those experienced under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Service areas along the highways provide opportunities to rest, stretch one’s legs, or grab a cup of coffee.

Furthermore, drivers are reminded of their obligation to “move over” when they encounter the flashing lights of emergency vehicles on the side of the road. Failure to do so may result in a ticket. New Jersey’s Move Over Law requires drivers approaching stationary emergency vehicles, tow trucks, and other highway safety vehicles displaying flashing lights to shift to an empty lane adjacent to those vehicles. If changing lanes is not feasible, drivers must reduce their speed below the posted limit. By adhering to this law, motorists can help ensure the safety of both themselves and emergency personnel.

In addition to land enforcement, the New Jersey State Police Marine Bureau will be actively patrolling the state’s waterways throughout the summer, with particular attention to identifying boaters operating under the influence of alcohol or drugs and preventing reckless behavior on boats and personal watercraft. Marine troopers will also verify that boat operators possess the necessary licenses to operate watercraft. For the latest requirements and additional boating safety tips, individuals can visit the State Police website at https://www.njsp.org/marine-services/index.shtml.

The New Jersey State Police emphasizes that operating a vehicle or vessel under the influence is entirely unacceptable and endangers countless lives. Colonel Patrick J. Callahan, Superintendent of the New Jersey State Police, stated, “Our goal is zero crash fatalities—not just on holidays, but every day. Whether on land or on the water, we urge everyone to prioritize safety, enjoy the company of friends and family responsibly, and take a moment to remember and honor the brave men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice in service to our great nation.”

As we embark on the Memorial Day weekend, let us all strive for safety and responsible behavior. The New Jersey State Police extends their wishes for a secure and enjoyable holiday weekend, while encouraging us to reflect upon the courage and dedication of those who gave their lives serving our country.

Club Owner Alleges Discrimination by Seaside Heights Officials: Secret Recording Unveiled

In a startling revelation, the owner of two popular clubs showcased on MTV’s “Jersey Shore” claims to possess a secretly recorded phone conversation that exposes instances of discrimination against minorities by officials in Seaside Heights. John Saddy, the club owner, recently filed for bankruptcy in February, citing a staged police raid on his establishment, Club Karma, in May of last year as the catalyst for subsequent event cancellations.

Saddy’s attorney, Tom Mallon, asserts that the raid was a deliberate attempt to shut down Saddy’s clubs. “My client intended to bring in a promoter who would feature hip-hop music, and the town, it seems, perceived this as an effort to attract an African-American clientele,” Mallon explains. “I believe that the incident that unfolded at Club Karma on Memorial Day weekend was a response to this.”

A lawsuit filed by Saddy in November details the alleged discriminatory practices. It states, “To ensure that Plaintiff was limiting and discouraging African-American patrons, high-ranking Borough officials, including but not limited to Defendant Chief of Police Thomas Boyd, were sent to Plaintiff’s nightclubs specifically to count the number of African-Americans and report back to the Mayor and Council.”

The emergence of the secretly recorded phone conversation, now in the possession of Saddy, has ignited a significant controversy. While the exact content of the recording remains undisclosed, it is presumed to contain evidence supporting the claims of discrimination made by Saddy and his attorney. The potential impact of this recording on the ongoing legal battle and public perception of Seaside Heights cannot be understated.

As this situation unfolds, it raises critical questions about equal treatment and fairness within Seaside Heights. The allegations of targeting specific racial demographics demand thorough investigation and accountability. It is essential that authorities take swift action to address these claims and ensure that all individuals are treated equitably, regardless of their ethnicity or background.

News 12 will continue to follow this story closely, providing updates on any developments in this complex and contentious case. The truth behind the allegations of discrimination will be sought, and the voices of those affected will be heard.

New Jersey State Police Debunks Rumors of Speeding Ticket Blitz, Maintains Current Fines

In response to circulating rumors, the New Jersey State Police has officially confirmed that there will be no “speeding ticket blitz” taking place during the summer months. This announcement comes as a clarification to an earlier report by News 12 New Jersey, which had suggested the deployment of 50 state troopers for a 30-day crackdown on speeding violations.

State Police Superintendent Col. Patrick Callahan emphatically stated that such claims are baseless and without merit. Addressing the issue, Callahan commented, “I see periodically that social media post put out. And it is fictitious. Our troopers are out there 24/7 enforcing traffic laws. There is no order from me, from any station commander, from any sergeant or trooper commander regarding any ticket blitz.”

Furthermore, Callahan confirmed that there will be no increase in speeding ticket fines as previously speculated. Dismissing the notion that fines would surge from $44 to $173, he reassured the public that the current fine structure would remain unchanged.

The New Jersey State Police’s clarification aims to dispel any misinformation circulating among the public regarding heightened traffic enforcement measures and increased fines. By reaffirming their commitment to upholding traffic laws consistently, the State Police seeks to maintain transparency and alleviate concerns about potential changes in penalties.

As residents continue to navigate the state’s roadways, it is crucial to rely on accurate and verified information from official sources. The New Jersey State Police’s statement serves as a reminder to remain vigilant and informed while adhering to traffic regulations.

Glynn County Welcomes Scott Ebner as New Police Chief

Authors: Gordon Jackson and Michael Hall

In a recent closed executive session, Glynn County Public Safety Director Scott Ebner was appointed as the new police chief, following a motion made by Commissioner Allen Booker. While the decision was not unanimous, with Commissioner Sammy Tostensen expressing concerns regarding Ebner’s lack of certification in Georgia, the majority of commissioners saw his potential for the role.

Currently, Ebner is not certified to work as a law enforcement officer in Georgia. However, he is in the process of scheduling training through the Peace Officer Standards and Training Council (POST) to obtain the necessary certification. This program allows experienced officers from other states to become certified in Georgia after completing online courses on criminal traffic laws, use-of-force training, and firearms qualification.

Commissioner Bo Clark voiced his objection to the appointment, not due to any doubt about Ebner’s capabilities as police chief, but because of his preference for Sheriff Neal Jump overseeing all law enforcement in the county. Clark clarified that Ebner was originally hired to oversee the police chief, not to be the police chief.

Despite his high regard for Sheriff Jump, Commission Chairman Wayne Neal ultimately voted in favor of hiring Ebner. He acknowledged that while Jump is an exemplary law enforcement professional, the responsibility for overseeing county operations lies with County Manager Bill Fallon.

In a phone interview, Neal emphasized that Ebner will retain his title as director of public safety, with a primary focus on serving as police chief. He highlighted the fact that the majority of Ebner’s duties will be related to leading the police department.

Addressing community relations was a key concern mentioned by Commissioner Booker prior to the vote. Recognizing the need to restore trust in law enforcement, Booker emphasized that the Glynn County Police Department must work diligently to build positive relationships with the community.

Commissioner Walter Rafolski expressed confidence in Sheriff Jump’s capabilities but echoed Chairman Neal’s sentiment, stating that County Manager Fallon was appointed to oversee all county operations, including public safety. He suggested that if the community desired the sheriff to be responsible for all county law enforcement, a referendum could be conducted in 2024.

Cap Fendig, another commissioner, expressed surprise at the debate surrounding the issue. He noted that having separate police and sheriff departments is not common in Georgia, and disbanding the county police department would require a decision made by the voters.

Fendig expressed optimism that Ebner and Sheriff Jump would collaborate effectively, stating that their shared commitment to serving Glynn County would prevail. He concluded by emphasizing the need to hire a police chief promptly.

Commissioner Clark stressed the urgency to address recent incidents of violence in the community. He underscored the importance of having a strong police presence to ensure the safety of neighborhoods and prevent criminal activities from gaining a foothold.

Scott Ebner brings a wealth of experience to his new position as police chief. Prior to his appointment, Ebner had an extensive career spanning over 30 years in law enforcement, primarily in New Jersey and Florida. He served with the New Jersey State Police in various roles, including the investigative branch, internal affairs, regional commander, and chief of staff. Notably, Ebner recently held the position of deputy superintendent of the agency’s administrative branch. Before his tenure in New Jersey, he worked as a police officer in Cape Coral, Florida.

County Manager Bill Fallon expressed enthusiasm for Ebner’s role in providing leadership stability to the Glynn County Police Department (GCPD). Fallon emphasized the importance of collaboration between Ebner and Assistant Chief O’Neal Jackson in addressing crime, particularly violent offenses, within the community.

The search for a new police chief began in December and involved assistance from reputable organizations such as the International Chiefs of Police, National Sheriff’s Association, National Organization for Black Law Enforcement Executives, and Police Executive Research Forum. Candidates were reviewed by Fallon, County Human Resources Director Orah Reed, the Police Advisory Panel, and a POST representative. The county commission conducted interviews with the selected candidates before ultimately appointing Scott Ebner as the new police chief.

New Jersey Denies Rumors of a “Speeding Ticket Frenzy”

As the summer season begins, rumors have circulated on social media suggesting that the New Jersey State Police would be initiating a heightened traffic enforcement period with increased patrols and higher fines. A recent Facebook post on July 13 claimed that a “speeding ticket frenzy” would commence on July 28, garnering over 140 shares. The post included a photo of a flyer purporting to provide details of the supposed crackdown.

However, the New Jersey State Police swiftly debunked these claims through a Facebook post, clarifying that there is no ticket blitz planned. This is not the first time such rumors have surfaced, as similar false claims circulated in 2020 and were previously debunked by USA TODAY in 2015.

State Police Superintendent Col. Patrick Callahan addressed the issue in an interview with News 12 New Jersey, stating that social media posts about increased speeding tickets emerge periodically but hold no truth. Callahan emphasized that state troopers are consistently enforcing traffic laws and that no order has been issued for a ticket blitz from any authority within the police force.

Regarding the specific details mentioned in the misleading Facebook post, Callahan clarified that the claim of fine increases from $44 to $173 is untrue. According to the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission, fines for handheld device use while driving are $200 for a first offense, $400 for a second offense, and a minimum of $600 plus a possible 90-day license suspension and three motor vehicle penalty points for a third offense. The post inaccurately stated a fine of $180.

Furthermore, the post alleged that the New Jersey State Police had acquired 30 new unmarked Crown Victoria cruisers. However, the last Crown Victoria model was produced in 2011, according to Car and Driver Magazine, rendering this claim false.

In conclusion, based on thorough research and the statements from the New Jersey State Police, the claim of a 30-day “speeding ticket frenzy” set to begin on July 28 is false. The police force has explicitly denied the existence of such an effort, and similar false claims have circulated on social media in the past. Additionally, the flyer’s mentioned fine amounts and information about new police cars were also proven to be incorrect.

Jersey City Council Unanimously Approves Right to Counsel Measures

In a unanimous decision, the Jersey City Council has approved the final reading of their right to counsel measures after a lengthy discussion that lasted over two hours. The new local law will ensure that tenants facing legal action from their landlords are provided with free legal representation. To facilitate this, a dedicated Right to Counsel (RTC) office will be established in City Hall.

Under the proposed ordinance, development fees will cover the costs associated with providing legal representation to tenants. Specifically, 20 percent of the funds will be allocated to the city’s Affordable Housing Trust Fund to support the RTC, while the remaining 80 percent will be used for various affordable housing initiatives.

The approval of the right to counsel measures has garnered significant support from activists and community members. Jake Ephros, an RTC activist representing the Hudson County Democratic Socialists of America, expressed his enthusiasm, highlighting the need to empower tenants who are constantly under attack. The measures will provide tenants with health and safety issues, such as mold problems, the ability to take slum landlords to court without fear of eviction due to legal loopholes.

Rev. Ritney Castine, a member of Jersey City Together, emphasized the importance of reducing the stressors associated with pending evictions, particularly in an area known for its high cost of living. Castine spoke in favor of the development aspect fee of the RTC, which had previously cleared the planning board in April.

Katie Brennan, an advocate and board member of the Waterfront Project, expressed her support for the right to counsel, highlighting the disproportionate power held by landlords and the lack of legal representation available to tenants. Carol Sainthilaire, the Executive Director of the Waterfront Project, and Lissette Diaz, the organization’s legal director, also expressed their support for the proposal, citing the crisis faced by low-income individuals and families, which often pushes them to the brink of homelessness.

While the majority of speakers at the council meeting were in favor of the right to counsel measures, some voiced concerns about the proposal. Wendy Paul, Executive Director of the Jersey City Apartment Owners Association, argued that landlords and corporations are already required by law to appear in court with legal representation, while tenants are not. She also mentioned the county’s existing comprehensive plan to provide direct assistance to tenants, funded through the county’s budget.

Angelique Diaz, the Republican state Assembly nominee in the 31st Legislative District and a landlord, took a more critical stance, suggesting that the right to counsel ordinance would employ more lawyers and friends of Jersey City’s leadership without actually preventing evictions. However, her remarks were met with disagreement from supporters of the measures.

Several council members expressed their support for the right to counsel measures before casting their votes. They acknowledged the complex issues faced by both landlords and tenants and emphasized the need for action to address the ongoing crises. Councilman Yousef Saleh, one of the original sponsors of the RTC, explained how the measures would work and thanked the advocates who contributed to their development. Councilman James Solomon highlighted the power imbalance between tenants and landlords and stressed the importance of consistent legal representation for tenants.

The unanimous approval of the right to counsel measures signifies a significant step towards protecting the rights of tenants in Jersey City. As the city continues to grapple with housing and affordability challenges, the implementation of these measures aims to level the playing field and ensure fair treatment for all residents.

School Speed Zones Vary in Enforcement During South Florida Summers

As summer arrives in South Florida, drivers may wonder if they still need to adhere to school zone speed limits. The answer depends on your location and the specific guidelines in place. Here’s what you need to know in Broward and Miami-Dade counties as summer school programs commence.

Broward County During the period from June 20 to July 25, yellow flashing school zone lights will be activated at campuses that host summer school programs. It’s important to note that not all schools in Broward offer summer classes, as only 51 out of the county’s 330 public schools will be in session. Summer school operates from Monday to Thursday, with classes held for four hours each day.

The school schedules differ for elementary, secondary (middle and high school), and programs for students with disabilities. Elementary classes run from 8 a.m. to noon, while secondary programs are held from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Most disability programs follow the 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. schedule, although a few have unique start and end times. For example, Atlantic Technical College in Coconut Creek runs from 7:30 to 11:30 a.m.

In terms of speed limits and citations, it’s important to be aware that school zones are active 30 minutes before and after a school’s start and end times. The speed limit within school zones is set at 15 mph. Violating this speed limit can result in fines double that of a regular speeding ticket. Speeding by 1-9 mph over the limit may lead to a $50 fine, while exceeding the limit by 15 to 19 mph can result in a $300 fine.

A helpful tip for drivers is to exercise caution when approaching a school zone sign that doesn’t have an active flashing light. If uncertain whether a light will be activated closer to the campus, it is advisable to reduce speed until reaching the light.

Miami-Dade County Unlike Broward County, school zone lights will not be flashing during the summer in Miami-Dade unless a school in the district specifically requests activation from the Department of Transportation and Public Works, responsible for maintaining and operating the lights. At present, no schools have made such a request.

Miami-Dade’s summer programs commenced on June 12 and will conclude on July 25.

While school zones may not be in effect in Miami-Dade during the summer, school officials still urge drivers to exercise caution when passing school campuses. Safety should remain a top priority for all motorists.

Upper Darby Township Faces Class Action Lawsuit Over Mishandling of Parking Tickets

UPPER DARBY, Pa. — Upper Darby Township is now facing a proposed class action lawsuit in federal court concerning its handling of parking tickets. This legal battle follows an exclusive report by CBS News Philadelphia Investigations two months ago, which revealed that thousands of tickets were not being sent to local courts, raising concerns and prompting further questions.

The plaintiff’s attorney has argued that this constitutes a violation of due process. According to the lawsuit, thousands of individuals who received parking tickets were never notified about how and when they could contest the tickets or appear in court to dispute the violations before a local judge.

Attorney David Stanoch, representing the Clifton Heights woman who filed the suit, stated on Monday that everyone who receives a criminal fine, even for something as minor as a parking ticket, is entitled to two fundamental rights: notice and a hearing. He emphasized that these rights are protected under the constitutional principle of due process.

During an earlier investigation, it was discovered that beginning in the spring of 2021, parking tickets and violations issued by Upper Darby Township Parking Enforcement were not being processed by the local district magistrates as they had been in the past. The Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts confirmed that approximately 18,000 tickets had not been processed for nearly two years but were eventually sent in bulk to the AOPC in February, coinciding with the start of the media’s inquiries.

This development raised concerns among township council members, some of whom found the timing suspiciously coincidental. Despite completing a seven-year audit of the parking department, the findings have not yet been released to the public.

In February, Mayor Barbarann Keffer attributed the issue to technology problems. However, the ongoing investigation revealed that more than 18,000 parking violations failed to go through the courts for hearings, highlighting the magnitude of the problem.

Attorney Stanoch expressed the significance of the issue, stressing that individuals repeatedly find themselves without proper notice and living in fear that failing to pay the fines will prevent them from going to court to contest and argue against the charges.

The lawsuit argues that Upper Darby Township keeps recipients in a state of uncertainty, burdened by escalating fines and the fear of prosecution, without providing them with the basic principles of due process—notice and the opportunity to be heard.

When questioned about the lawsuit, a township official declined to comment on behalf of the mayor and administration. The attorney handling the case estimates that the number of individuals who may join the lawsuit could range from hundreds to thousands.

Township Council President, when approached by CBS News Philadelphia, acknowledged the legitimacy of the lawsuit, emphasizing that nobody has had their day in court to address the parking violations.

Seaside Heights Introduces Parking Ordinance to Address Safety Concerns

As Seaside Heights continues its redevelopment efforts and prioritizes quality-of-life issues, officials are taking action to tackle a persistent problem that has caused inconvenience and safety hazards for both drivers and authorities. This week, the borough introduced an ordinance aimed at modifying parking regulations to require drivers to park “head-on” when pulling into angled spaces. While some may perceive this as a minor issue, officials emphasize that the problems associated with backing into angled spaces are significant and need to be addressed.

Mayor Anthony Vaz explained, “It really does cause some issues because when you’re backing in, it’s easy to hit a car to the side.” Additionally, the maneuver takes more time for most drivers, resulting in blocked roadways and traffic congestion while they line up their cars to reverse into the diagonal parking spaces. Failed attempts can lead to a buildup of vehicles, particularly on Seaside Heights’ narrow roadways, obstructing intersections and impeding crosswalks. This scenario often escalates with blaring horns, further exacerbating the situation.

Furthermore, law enforcement is often required to respond to incidents where drivers misjudge the angles and cause damage to other vehicles. Mayor Vaz noted that the domino effect of a seemingly routine parking attempt is often underestimated, especially by visitors unfamiliar with the parking layout. While the practice of backing into angled spaces is not widespread among New Jersey drivers, it appears to be more common in other states.

While backing into an angled space is not considered a moving violation, the proposed ordinance aims to discourage drivers from doing so by imposing parking tickets if their vehicles are parked facing the wrong direction. To raise awareness, signage will be installed to inform visitors of the policy.

Mayor Vaz acknowledged, “It happens quite a bit, more than most people think,” referring to accidents caused by misjudging the angles. He added that addressing this issue may not have been a priority in the past but emphasized the importance of taking action now.

Interestingly, after the reconstruction of Route 35 following Superstorm Sandy, the New Jersey Department of Transportation suggested a similar back-in mandate for angled spaces along the state highway in Lavallette. However, local officials voiced concerns over potential accidents and traffic congestion, leading the state to abandon the proposal.

The new ordinance in Seaside Heights will apply to all angled parking spaces within the town, while drivers will still be allowed to back into traditional parking spaces. Private parking lots are exempt from this policy. The ordinance was introduced unanimously during a borough council meeting and will undergo a public hearing and a second vote at the next council meeting before becoming law.