Ticketing policies differ at local police departments

2013-05-25T17:45:00Z 2013-05-25T23:30:04Z Ticketing policies differ at local police departmentsChas Reilly chas.reilly@nwi.com, (219) 662-5324 nwitimes.com

The production of traffic citations is a shared expectation local police departments have for their officers, but the ticketing policies some departments have in place is varied.

The Schererville Police Department established a new ticketing policy this year asking officers to issue at least one citation and one warning during every 12-hour shift, Schererville police Cmdr. Brian Neyhart said. Supervisors are expected to issue the same amount of citations and warnings for every 24 hours they work.

"I don't think officers feel it's a whole lot to ask of them," Neyhart said.

The goal of the policy is to reduce accidents in the town, Neyhart said.

He said 2,122 citations have been issued by Schererville officers so far this year. Neyhart said crashes have slightly decreased each month since the program started.

He said he has discussed the new policy with several residents, who indicated the requirements are the minimum they expect of officers.

There are occasions in which officers would be exempt from meeting the new policy, such as times when officers are busy responding to calls for service.

The Merrillville Police Department's rules and regulations indicate the department can't establish a set number of tickets officers must issue.

Instead, the department tells its officers "you're obligated to do your best," Merrillville Assistant Chief Jim Donohue said.

Donohue reported Merrillville police issued 3,748 citations this year.

Although officers aren't asked to produce a certain amount of tickets, each officer has a quarterly evaluation in which the department uses formulas to determine an efficiency index for several categories, including citations issued, Donohue said.

The evaluations compare productivity of officers who are similarly situated within the department.

If an officer's productivity falls well below average, the department establishes a performance plan for that person, Donohue said.

The Dyer Police Department doesn't require officers to issue a specific amount of citations while on duty.

"We just ask our guys to produce," Dyer Patrol Cmdr. Kelly Carroll said.

Dyer police officers have issued 1,104 citations this year, he said.

If the department notices an officer has issued few citations, the matter will be discussed with the employee, Carroll said.

Hobart Police Chief Rick Zormier said the city's officers have issued 945 citations this year.

He said he hasn't set a specific amount of citations that must be produced and the department doesn't focus on tickets.

Ticketing activity often depends on how busy officers are responding to calls for service in the city.

"Sometimes it can fluctuate," Zormier said of the number of tickets issued.

At the Porter County Sheriff’s Department, officers are held to what’s called a minimum performance standard.

Officers are expected to make a minimum number of documented contacts with drivers, which could result in citations or written warnings, Sgt. Larry LaFlower said.

Patrolmen are expected to have 140 contacts during a six-month period. Shift supervisors are expected to have 40 per six-month period, LaFlower said.

However, those contacts can be made anywhere in the county, including U.S. 30.

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