Red Oak to investigate ticketing allegations
By 03/15/2007 00:00:00
The Ellis County Press
RED OAK - The Red Oak City Council has decided to investigate whether its police department is writing an excessive number of tickets, after several residents brought complaints to two council members.
The council took action on this matter at a city meeting on Tuesday, March 12.
The department was accused of writing the tickets in an attempt to meet a particular quota.
In 2003 it became illegal for a law enforcement agency to set quotas, but Chief of Police 'Red' Fullerton said Red Oak does not set quotas for its police officers.
During the council meeting, an executive session was called to discuss complaints against two council members.
These complaints came less than a week after the council members wrote letters expressing their concern with the rise in the number of minor traffic tickets written.
Casey Hargrove, council place 4, stated in his letter, 'In January of 2006, the police department wrote over 60 tickets, in January of 2007 the number rose to nearly 1,800 which represents an increase of almost three times that of 2006.'
Ben Goodwyn, mayor pro-tem, stated the increase, 'has everything to do with budget shortfalls and nothing to do with an increase in the lawlessness of our citizens.'
Goodwyn also said the number of tickets written appeared to add up to nearly 10 an hour.
In response to these letters, Red Oak Mayor Ron Bryce wrote his own letter to the news media in which he stated, 'Our current city budget provides for an increase in traffic enforcement.
'This is a necessary step in order to reduce traffic accidents and provide for public safety in our rapidly growing community.
'The city council approved this measure unanimously.'
No action had been taken on this matter, but the city is launching the investigation with the intention of dispelling the rumors.