ONLY ON KOLD: Tucson's Ticket Blitz - Western Mass News - WGGB/WSHM

ONLY ON KOLD: Tucson's Ticket Blitz

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TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

Tucson Police Department officials put a ticket quota into place back in March.

But just how many more tickets are cops handing out to you now?

Flashing red and blue lights are not a sight you want to see in your rear view mirror, but for some Tucson drivers, it's one they've seen way more often. 

It's not because their driving is worse, but because police are cracking down.

TPD instituted a mandatory minimum, or quota, back in March. Each officer on the street is now required to write at least one traffic ticket a day.

We wanted to know how effective that's been, so we got the numbers.

Between Jan. 1 and Aug. 27 last year, before the quota: TPD wrote almost 25,000 tickets.

In the same eight month time period this year, TPD wrote more than 46,000 tickets; that's an 89 percent increase.

"There seem to be a lot more police on the street, but whether or not that serves the community or serves the police department is a question yet to be determined."

And a question we've sought to answer.

Tucson Police Chief Villaseñor said the rule was supposed to make our streets safer and reduce accidents. And it did.

Last year, there were 5,400 traffic accidents. This year, with the quota in place, there were 4,678.

"That obviously sounds like a positive thing."

But it costs you, because of the time it takes.

Villaseñor instituted the quota because his officers were too busy to make traffic stops.

"And the reason why is not because they are lazy or they are not wanting or willing to do that. It's that there are so many calls for service that they are just constantly going call to call," he said when we interviewed him in March.

With a work load like that, how would officers write tickets and still make it to all those calls?

The answer is a lagging response time.

"So is that what they're doing when we call them and need their help and they take an hour to get there?"

Since the ticket quota has been in place, it takes police longer to get to all four of the top priority calls.

The delay is something Villaseñor promised wouldn't happen when we talked to him earlier this year.

"If they are en route to a high priority call? Obviously not. But if they are en route to a low priority call, there's a judgement thing: the severity of the offense compared to the severity of the call. Make a judgement on it," he said in March.

When we asked to talk about that judgement this go around,  no one at TPD would agree to an interview.

Copyright 2013 Tucson News Now. All rights reserved.

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