Pete Kennedy’s column in the Waukesha Freeman deals with the future aggressiveness of Waukesha’s police force in handing out tickets.
The increase in ticket activity is all but certain to come in 2011. The Waukesha Common Council is close to adding three new positions: two sworn traffic officers and a parking agent. The council’s Finance Committee has already approved adding the positions.
One reason – the reason? – aldermen have supported the plan is because the positions are “revenue neutral.” That means the new hires will bring in as much money as they cost the city. Of course, writing tickets is the way they’ll bring in money.
You can get an idea of how many citations they’ll dish out by looking at the salaries that have be “neutralized.” The two sworn officers would cost the city $82,611 each, the part-time parking agent an additional $18,487. To be exactly “neutral,” the new employees would have to write $183,709 in tickets.
That’s a lot, and it’s on top of what is already being written. In 2009, the most recent complete year, Waukesha Municipal Court collected $571,463 in revenue, said Steve Neaman, the city’s finance manager.
Adding $184,000 onto that is a substantial increase. The $571,000 also includes citations written by other departments, such as building inspections, so we’re talking a big jump in revenue (tickets) related to traffic.
Now I realize that my calling for a crackdown on speeding is a little bit like Senator Russ Feingold calling for spending restraint in Congress even as he voted for the stimulus bill. My foot weighs just a little bit heavy once it enters the gravitational pull of the gas pedal.
However, if you have driven around the city lately, or just sat and listened to the police sirens after the accidents on Arcadian, Main Street and 164, you probably wonder where the cops are enforcing the traffic laws. My favorite is the intersection at 164 and Main where people make illegal left turns from the center lane. Adding a few more cops around here that can respond in an emergency won’t hurt, either.
Maybe they can enforce the traffic laws enough on Friday nights that we can keep Main Street open.