Parking Enforcement Quotas By The Numbers

The City of Seven Hills is much abuzz with the news that SPPD Parking Enforcement Officers have been given de-facto daily ticket quotas. The outrage, the travesty, flow unimpeded from those who feel it’s their inalienable right to, you know, laugh in the face of the city’s parking restrictions. Sorry; when gas is $3 per gallon, it’s hard for me to feel sympathy for SUV owners facing the outrageous expense of Saint Paul’s $25 parking fine.

Instead, let’s look at things from the PEO’s perspective. They work eight-hour shifts, and are expected to ticket fifty-five violations per shift. That’s one ticket for every seven minutes of their shift. Add in meal breaks and any other time they’re 10-7, and you’re looking at more like one ticket every five to six minutes.

That’s probably just about possible, in, say, downtown, if one is just moving up and down the street, finding, and ticketing, violators. But it’s not that easy; PEOs are often dispatched clear across town to handle parking complaints, and are frequently employed to block roads and divert traffic at fire and accident scenes, where a sworn peace officer isn’t as important as a car with all the flashing lights. Especially in downtown, PEOs are among the most visible of police presences, and though not peace officers, spend a good deal of time interacting with the public – answering questions, giving directions, and so forth. Factor all that in, plus travel time at the beginning and end of a shift, and you’re looking realistically at a “quota” of one ticket every four minutes. With eleven officers working on any given day, or about five officers per shift (PEOs generally only work first and second shift, since few meters or other restrictions are in force at night), during daylight hours, roughly one ticket is being issued per minute. Six hundred tickets per day, or about 219,000 tickets per year, not counting those issued by sworn officers. Five and a half million dollars in fines, of which the city keeps just over a million.

As documents released by the Pioneer Press have shown, numbers of tickets issued is one of the primary metrics by which PEOs’ performance is judged, and an important criteria when considering them for advancement to join the ranks of sworn officers.

Don’t feel for drivers who break the law; feel for the PEOs who – rain or shine – are expected to maintain a steady output of one parking violation ticketed every four minutes… for around eight bucks an hour.

Published in: Geekiness, General | on July 8th, 2006| Comments Off on Parking Enforcement Quotas By The Numbers

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