APD email says traffic money to fund future pay raises

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ATLANTA —

Channel 2 Action News has obtained an email sent to Atlanta police that says traffic ticket money will fund future pay raises.

An Atlanta police source told Channel 2’s Amy Napier Viteri there are concerns that linking pay raises to tickets creates an indirect quota system, but the Mayor’s Office and the author of the email insist there’s no push to write more tickets.

The email from police union President Ken Allen explains future police pay raises will be funded through traffic tickets and court revenue. It comes on the heels of the passage of the city’s budget.

“The mayor has designated traffic court/ticket revenue for future pay increases  ...  (This is) the first time ever that a revenue stream has been designated to salaries,” Allen told officers in the email. “Future pay increases are in our hands. We need only enforce traffic violations as we are now, but increase our attendance in court to prevent cases being dismissed."

By phone, Allen told Viteri drivers cited for ticket offenses are slipping through the cracks.

“A bunch of people get out of legitimate traffic citations that have already been issued that are beating the system based on how the system is running,” Allen said.

A representative for the mayor’s office iterated sentiments about improving how the police department engages in traffic court, “especially regarding operations and the collections process  …  There is no push to increase revenues through the writing of additional tickets.”

But a police source told Viteri the plan could make officers work toward increasing citations, in hopes of a higher wage. Some drivers Viteri spoke to agree.

“I’m probably going to switch from sales and join the police force in that case, if that's the way it's working,” Ken Miller said.

Allen said enforcement of traffic laws won't change.

An Atlanta police representative said the department has not issued any directive for officers to write more tickets, nor informed them ticket writing is directly tied to their compensation.