Friday, November 04, 2011

When It Rains, It Pours

Earlier this week I wrote about the police force of a local school district, and the tasteless (I'm being generous there) shirts they sold. Now they've got another ball to juggle:
The embattled Twin Rivers Unified School District police force is facing new scrutiny: this time for its practice of towing vehicles with expired tags or other violations and using the penalty fees to supplement its budget.

Twin Rivers police generated $45,000 by towing vehicles last year, a 55 percent increase in revenues compared with 2008.

In internal department emails earlier this year, officers were given targets for making vehicle and pedestrian stops, and initially for vehicle tows as well.
There's evidence of quotas for tickets/towing as well. Of course, such actions cause people to wonder if students are treated correctly by these sworn peace officers.

There's something we learned pretty quickly at West Point--people who wear uniforms live in a fishbowl, they're constantly under scrutiny. The Twin Rivers police force has either forgotten or failed ever to learn that lesson. When a society gives uniforms and firearms to certain people, it does so with a sacred trust that the force they can apply won't be abused. They are rightly held to a higher standard of conduct.

Someone needs to whip that department into shape, and do so with a quickness. There seems to be a leadership failure somewhere in that district.


maxutils said...

. . .and the last thing they need right now is ball juggling.

mrelliott said...

A school district with its own police force...that says it all right there.

Anonymous said...

"Someone needs to whip that department into shape, and do so with a quickness. There seems to be a leadership failure somewhere in that district."

*AND*, in addition, the police and/or district should *not* have a financial incentive to confiscate private property.

If the money from the towing goes to, say, the state general fund, then we don't have quite the incentive to create quotas.

-Mark Roulo

Steve USMA '85 said...

OK, somebody needs to explain to me what the real issue here is. Has there been cases of the police towing vehicles which should not have been towed in the first place? Are the cars towed not in their jurisdiction?

Cars illegally parked or having expired license can be towed by law enforcement. Law enforcement towed their car. Nothing wrong so far. Incentives/quotas to tow/ticket X number of vehicles stretches things a bit but if you can show there was no bias in enforcement what is the issue? Incentives and quotas can lead to bad behavior but it does not mean that it automatically happens.

The town of West Point, KY is just north of Fort Knox, KY. Fort Knox is in a dry county. Soldiers had to drive north through West Point to get to the nightlife of Louisville. The road taken is 55 mph except through West Point where it was 25 mph for many years. The police department was known to finance the entire town by issues hundreds, if not thousands of speeding tickets per month to soldiers going to and from post. However, even though it was audited numerous times, the town police force could show they ticketed in a fair and unbiased manner (they ticketed everyone) and no one ever claimed they weren't speeding.

This seems similar from the facts presented. Officers are told to get so many tows, they do so on cars that deserve towing. What is the problem?