While ticket quotas are now taboo, if you look at the number of traffic tickets issued in Texas’ small cities, you might think that these quotas do exist. In one small Texas city the judge resigned over outrageous ticket numbers for small towns.
Last month, ticket data was examined and it was found that four towns along I-45 between Dallas and Houston have been extra busy giving out tickets.
The small town of Palmer has issued 1,080 citations in one month for speeding and other offenses, according to the city administrator, Doug Young. There are only about 2,023 residents in Palmer. During the year 2014 officers issued 29,000 citations. This equates to about 15 tickets per resident.
A local judge that had been volunteering his time in the area for 15 years stated that he had found the practice to be so bad that he decided resigned on principle. “When I first became a judge, we had one reserve officer,” David Viscarde, the former judge in the town of Calvert, told WFAA. “That’s all he did on Friday and Saturday every other weekend. He’d write 100 citations.”
As it turns out, many small town governments and especially the police departments are funded by the revenue generated by tickets given.
There is an area southwest of Waco called the “Texas Triangle” named for the three towns of Hearne, Lott and Calvert. Here is just how bad it is: The town of Hearne has 12,000 court cases pending and the town only has 4,400 residents; the town of Lott is in the top 20 for open court cases, records show. Mayor Anita Tindle would not release budget amounts, but Texas state records show that Lott has in excess of 3,400 open traffic cases in their municipal court. That would relate to five cases for each of its 743 residents.
Calvert, is also in the top 20 for open municipal cases. This city also refused to provide specific numbers, but state records show that they have approximately 5,159 cases pending. That equates to approximately five cases for each of its 1,100 residents.
“The pressure to collect revenues in Calvert and probably other small towns in Texas is excessive,” Reserve Officer Viscarde said. The resigning judge added, “And what happens is, you got judges like me who say they’ve got better things to do with my time. Thank you very much, and God bless you, I’ll move on.”
The former judge stated the small towns count on the fact that practically no one will take their ticket to court and will instead just mail in the fine. He stated that Calvert is incapable of going to court on these tickets because they don’t have a prosecutor and don’t want one.
This writer, having lived in Texas for several years and seeing the number of traffic tickets issued in Texas, can tell you how to avoid these citations and fines… “Don’t Speed.”