Police officials are blaming budget cuts for their cutbacks in service, but it’s hard to accept this explanation. The other day I saw an officer giving tickets to three teen-agers who were caught riding their bicycles without helmets. One downtown Sacramento officer rides around on a horse and gallops after people who jaywalk. There’s clearly the manpower to hand out tickets (but not to clean up the piles of manure the horses leave behind). It’s a question of priorities.
A recent Modesto Bee report points to this trend: “The California Highway Patrol is handing out more traffic citations than it did a few years ago, and that has generated tens of millions of dollars in revenue for state and local governments.” Another relevant statistic:
The average CHP officer who has retired in the past couple of years is bringing home a guaranteed pension of $98,000 a year (after 25 years of work), with automatic cost-of-living increases.
Click to read the column.