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Ask a Trooper: Do Officers Have a Ticket Quota?

Washington State Patrol District 1 spokesman and recruiter Guy Gill answers your questions about the rules of the road.

Q: Is there such a thing as a ticket quota in the Washington State Patrol?

A: The answer is no. This is our job and it’s no different than any other – WSP officers work for a day’s pay. We don’t always write tickets and we give lots of verbal warnings. If an officer does give a verbal warning, it is documented. Every officer has discretion.

Not everyone is going to get a ticket. Our goal is to educate the public and sometimes our presence is enough to change someone’s behavior.

All of our data is tracked, with audio and visual recording. Every stop we make, we track in a document. We record the time, location, offense and whatever the outcome is. 

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Trooper Guy Gill is the Washington State Patrol recruiter and spokesman for District 1, covering Pierce and Thurston counties. Follow him at @wspd1pio on Twitter. 

What have you always wanted to ask a state patrol officer? Tell us in the comments.

EvergreenHillbilly February 14, 2013 at 01:36 AM
I used rant about their duck pond on northbound 405 at 80th. But it would be hard to find a place that would yield as many speeders and allow such great visibiltiy for would-be speeders. No local creatures are harmed in the making of this weekly production, because traffic is light enough to accommodate the rubbernecking, and because we all know not to speed there.
Angela McBrayer February 14, 2013 at 08:00 PM
A quota for "social contact"? I dare you to email one and find out if there is any quota for "social contact"...you will find yourself without any word.
Kirkland Tony February 14, 2013 at 08:23 PM
Mostly what this tells us is that the Patch editors are not journalists or investigative reporters, more inclined to defer to government than to challenge it. If you look at the original thread of "What Have You Always Wanted to Know About the Washington State Patrol?", also written by Lauren, from 06 October, suggestions were made that the quota question was incredibly naive and plays right into the WSP lie-book. Why did the Patch editors ignore that input and ask the question in the weakest and most impotent way possible? Lauren, can a trooper's supervisors see their ticket or revenue production record at performance review time? Why do they hang out on 405 at 7am Sunday, when there are no accidents historically and therefore no safety benefit, while ignoring the plethora of gravel trucks spewing projectiles that are larger than bullets at vehicles on the freeway during the week? How do you respond to the fact that Assistant State Patrol Chief Brian Ursino told KING-TV, "We did ask our troopers to be a little less tolerant. There isn't any quotas but there is accountability." Or that iIn 2002, a public records request by the Washington Seatbelt Coalition uncovered a confidential "Traffic Safety Blitz" memo urging a specific number of tickets issued each hour? This "article" should be an embarrassment for Patch and for Lauren.
Mike Lewis February 15, 2013 at 02:20 AM
@Kirkland Tony: Maybe the premise of the "Ask a Trooper" isn't clear for you, so let me pitch in and help. The Questions come from Patch readers. The Answers come from the "expert." In this case -- and I say "this case" as we have run other features in a Q&A format -- the expert is a state trooper. It's natural to disagree with an assertion and clearly you believe (as do others) that a ticket quota exists. But the rationale behind a Q&A (as is the case with thousands of Q&As published across hundreds of websites annually) is to provide a direct path from reader to source without the reporter's interpretation or filter. Reporter Lauren Padgett did exactly what she is supposed to with this kind of feature: She stayed out of the way and let the dialogue happen between the reader and the trooper. And the comments section (which you just used) is where readers both contribute and judge the veracity of the answers (which, in part, you just did as well). I'm sorry that the format left you befuddled at the distinction between a standard news story and a reader-generated Q&A. But rest assured, we'll be here to walk you (or anyone else) through if it confuses or angers you again. Thanks for your comment. Mike Lewis, Regional Editor, Patch.com
Kirkland Tony February 15, 2013 at 05:02 AM
@Mike, while I appreciate your dismissive sarcasm, the phrasing of the question chosen could not have been more of a softball lob. If you look at the October thread, you would be hard pressed to justify asking it precisely that way despite one reader having phrased it as such. That is the only point I was "befuddled" by... that it was the discredited phrasing to enable propaganda (i.e. of course they say "no", but is it in action rather than in name?) rather than at least making even a cursory effort to ask a real question. So while I am appreciative of your offer to help walk me through that, be assured that I am here to help should you ever decide to try to phrase questions in ways that might provide insight rather than merely sound-bite opportunities. At your service should you realize you need it, Kirkland Tony

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