The Augusta Chronicle reports that 5% of the money collected from traffic tickets go to a supplemental pension fund called Georgia Peace Officers’ Annuity and Benefit Fund. That’s right folks; that is money in the officer’s pocket eventually. The more tickets the officer makes the more money he will get in his retirement, plus more money into his supervisor’s pocket in retirement. In Georgia, don’t even try to talk yourself out of a ticket as you will be trying to convince the officer that he can do with a smaller fishing boat during his retirement years.
Currently, this fund has more than half a billion dollars in it! In addition to their regular generous pension, that averages to more than $30,000 per cop, but don’t worry as tomorrow’s tickets will increase that haul. An officer can expect up to $732.30 more per month during his retirement years paid from traffic tickets.
Not to worry about whether this is another case of policing for profits? Executive Director Bob Carter said, “The fund is not an incentive to write traffic tickets, by any stretch. Most officers do not even realize the fund is in part funded by traffic ticket fines.” Given the extent to which public employees around the country have been gaming public pension system with leave payouts, overtime, and last minute salary increases that does not seem credible; those most concerned about their imminent retirement compensation are supervising and setting priorities for those who might be ignorant of this benefit.
While other causes of pension maximization result in an increasing trend of municipal bankruptcy and crippling local taxation, this case raises the issue of corrupting justice. The officer’s future pension income depends upon writing more tickets and his testimony in court will directly impact the financing of his future income. Judges should consider the officers’ testimony in that context.
Outside of Georgia and separate from cops financially benefiting from traffic tickets, I hear a distrust of police related to traffic tickets, including the veracity of their testimony in court. There is widespread questioning of the priority given by the police to traffic tickets and ridicule of the police for enforcement that has nothing to do with increasing safety on our roads. In general, as currently conducted, traffic ticketing is reducing the respect that the public has for their police force.