Leader of planned protest in Redford Twp. says police will end incentive plan.
REDFORD TOWNSHIP -- Protesters are claiming victory over a policy that would pay police officers overtime for writing extra tickets.
Community activists and clergy members throughout Metro Detroit canceled a protest in front of the Redford Police Station on Monday after meeting with city officials to discuss the incentive policy.
The Rev. Charles Williams II of the Mary Church Terrell Council for Community Empowerment in Detroit said officials agreed to end a policy that has been in effect for 30 days that pays officers overtime pay for writing extra tickets, even though they didn't work longer hours.
"At the end of the meeting, our conclusion was that the policy to give officers extra benefits like more overtime was unreasonable," Williams said. "(Township Supervisor R. Miles Handy II) said he would scrap that policy and do some other things."
Handy didn't return phone calls to The Detroit News. Police Chief John Buck referred all questions regarding the matter to Handy.
Jerry Szpak, vice president of Redford's Chamber of Commerce, said he doesn't know of any outrage among his members over the overtime-for-tickets policy, though he suspects it will be discussed at their next meeting.
He compared the police move to a double-edged sword.
"On one edge, you get better police protection. That may carry over to crime. (Police) visibility is always a good thing," Szpak said. "But are people going to avoid Redford? I don't know."
The police practice of using tickets as incentives for officers has been a growing trend in Metro Detroit. Police departments in Trenton, Rochester and Oak Park spell out the number of citations that officers must write to meet evaluation standards.
Governments across the country have stepped up police enforcement efforts that have the effect of bringing in more money during lean times and when tax hikes are often out of the question.
Earlier this year, the state of Virginia raised certain reckless driving tickets to between $1,050 and $3,000, the New York Times reported. The state earmarks the extra money for roads and bridges.
Williams said his group and others plan to target Dearborn Heights for similar practices.
"They are the originator of this policy and have done it for a number of years," he said. "This has to stop. It was a tragedy in Redford because some people get pulled over and can't afford to pay the ticket."
Detroit News Staff Writer Ronald J. Hansen contributed to this report. You can reach Iveory Perkins at (734) 462-2672 or firstname.lastname@example.org.