The Utah Senate wants to prohibit state and local police agencies from setting ticket or arrest quotas for officers.
SB154 cleared the full Senate 23-2 Wednesday and now heads to the House.
The libertarian-leaning Libertas Institute hailed Senate passage as a reflection of the public will.
“Ask the average person on the street about police quotas, and they’re likely to express deep concern if not visceral opposition,” the group said in a press release.
Feb. 8: Citing ‘unethical practices,’ Utah senator pushes bill that would prohibit police departments from giving officers ticket and arrest quotas
By Taylor W. Anderson
Utah police agencies would be prohibited from requiring their officers to rack up tickets or arrests under a bill that would outlaw quotas.
Sen. Howard Stephenson, R-Draper, was flanked by two former police officers who said they were pressured to meet arrest and ticketing quotas by their supervisors.
When he didn’t, said former Salt Lake City police officer Eric Moutsos, he was seen as insubordinate.
“We had to arrest five people a day. Misdemeanor arrests, it wasn’t just traffic,” Moutsos said. “I said what if the public knew we had to arrest five of them per day?”
Stephenson, a fiscal conservative, called it “unethical” for any agency to implement such requirements. He proposed SB154 as a way to prevent cities or police agencies to incentivize racking up tickets or citations.
“I’ve spoken to people representing nearly every type of law enforcement agency in the state,” Stephenson said. “They have universally agreed that quotas should not exist.”
Law enforcement groups oppose the idea, with several denying they have any such requirements in place.
“It’s a perception that we do not like being out in the public,” said Scott Carver, Salt Lake County undersheriff. “But what we do know is that the job of a policy officer is to, in part, arrest, cite, stop, do those things that would be prohibited under this bill.”
Stephenson said he’d work with law enforcement groups on his bill before it’s ready for prime time to ensure police don’t feel they can instruct their officers to issue tickets or make arrests when the need arises. Still, the committee unanimously voted to send the bill to the floor, where it will sit in line long enough to give Stephenson time to amend the bill.