Struggling communities turn to beefed up traffic enforcement

By Charles Sercombe
Hamtramck isn’t the only city issuing more traffic tickets.
According to a recent report in USA Today, cities across the country are ramping up traffic enforcement in order to avoid layoffs and shore up local budgets. Cops and state police are reportedly no longer looking the other way when drivers go 5 to 10 miles over the speed limit. Instead, they are pulling over those drivers in an effort to raise more money.
In Hamtramck, the police officers’ union avoided layoffs by agreeing to bring in at least $60,000 a month in traffic fines.
That plan has come under fire by the Hamtramck branch of the NAACP. The civil rights group says this is a quota system and it’s illegal. Worse yet, its president, Kamal Rahman, said drivers with spotless records are now getting tickets.
Hamtramck once had a notorious traffic enforcement program in the 1980s that raised about $1 million a year in revenue. The heavy-handed enforcement also got Hamtramck branded as a speed trap by the insurance company AAA of Michigan.
According to a recent Detroit Free Press report, Ferndale police will be the latest local department that will now be issuing more tickets to save their jobs.
Supporters of Hamtramck’s beefed up ticket writing program say that the best way to avoid receiving a ticket is to obey the law. For some Hamtramck drivers — who have a reputation of being the worst in the Detroit area — that may prove to be too challenging.

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