Pleasant Valley police officers productive in catching traffic violations
By Angie Anaya Borgedalen
Thursday, February 14, 2008 1:21 AM CST
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Motorists driving through Pleasant Valley might want to keep an eye on the speedometer and a light foot on the gas pedal.
Although Pleasant Valley has about one-tenth the population of nearby Liberty, the town’s police officers hand out a lot of traffic citations by comparison.
According to mandated statistics compiled annually for the Missouri attorney general’s office, Pleasant Valley officers issued 2,632 traffic tickets in 2007. During that same period, Liberty officers issued 5,223 tickets, but recent increased enforcement along Kansas Street could boost that number in next year’s report. Some motorists stopped get more than one citation, for example, if they are speeding and not wearing a seat belt.
Capt. David Tedesco of Liberty said since the department had added a third officer to traffic enforcement in December, police in 2007 issued 69 more tickets than the year before.
Pleasant Valley has nine full-time officers and six reserve officers, Chief Jim Daum said. Liberty has 39 full-time officers and four reserves. Pleasant Valley’s population is approximately 3,300 and Liberty’s is approximately 30,000.
Pleasant Valley Mayor Dennis Todd said the city collected $212,894 in revenue from its traffic enforcement. Liberty collected approximately $546,000, said finance manager Marcella McCoy.
Of the 2,024 traffic stops made in 2007 by Pleasant Valley officers, 1,789 motorists were white, 171 were black, 51 were Latino, six were Asian and seven were classified as other or unknown. Of the 3,621 stops made by Liberty, 3,258 motorists were white, 200 were black, 97 were Latino, 15 were Native American, 27 were Asian and 24 were classified as other or unknown.
Todd said Pleasant Valley did not compile statistics on how many of those given tickets or stopped lived outside the city limits.
“The state did not require us to report this information, and so we do not have that data available,” Todd said.
Tedesco said Liberty found that 60 percent of those stopped did not live in Liberty.
“That 60 percent has held steady for years and years,” Tedesco said.
Officials from both cities said they did not require officers to meet quotas.
“We have no quotas but do have a productivity program,” Todd said.
According to an e-mail dated Dec. 20, 2007, from Daum to officers about citations, Daum said he expected productivity.
“I said that I expected you all to be productive and that a traffic stop an hour is what is expected,” Daum said. “I went on to say that four-five citations resulting from those stops would indicate that you are being productive.”
In a press release, Daum said the department was implementing a productivity analysis survey that
would measure the effectiveness of what officers did during their shifts.
“Our officers serve the community in a number of ways, some of which are difficult to measure,” Daum said in the release.
He said the department had started sending out customer service surveys to help gauge the public’s perception about such things as “common courtesy and overall competence.”
“The objective is to develop practical measurement strategies that validate that our officers are working and that work is purposeful and important to the community,” Daum said in the release.
Liberty Editor Angie Anaya Borgedalen can be reached at 781-4941 or email@example.com.