By DEBBIE WISE
Outlawing the practice of taking money from citizens for no good reason . . . What a great idea.
Over the weekend – yes, our weekends are just that pathetic – my husband and I were going over some new laws passed by the General Assembly in 2016. (Thanks, by the way, to the South Carolina Policy Council* for helping us on that.)
Among the new laws there were plenty of bad and indifferent ones. But here was one that looked promising: H.4837.
It would outlaw the practice by police departments of imposing ticket quotas on officers. Here’s the new law verbatim: “A law enforcement agency, department, or division may not require a law enforcement officer employed by the agency, department, or division to issue a specific amount or meet a quota for the number of citations he issues during a designated period of time.”
The law goes on to define its terms fairly strictly – “quota,” “law enforcement agency,” etc. – but the gist of it is this: The chief of policy in Podunk, South Carolina had better not get caught telling officers they have to come up with a certain number of traffic stops or a certain dollar amount in traffic fines.
I’m not sure how you would prove that that’s happening unless a cop leaked an email to the media or SLED. Or maybe sending a Freedom of Information request to the agency. (Good luck with that.) But at least this form of fleecing the public – taking law-abiding people’s money for doing nothing that endangers public safety – is now actually against the law.
Now, if only we could apply the same logic across state agencies. The logic, I mean, of not taking money from the public unless it’s a matter of public safety. Just a thought?
Debbie Wise and her husband ran a hotel for nearly 30 years. They are retired and live in Greenville.
*The Nerve’s parent organization. –The editors