The state police union president said Wednesday that the union was announcing a ticket blitz in the Danielson area in the same way that DUI checkpoints are announced in advance.
Sgt. Andrew Matthews said that the troopers will obey direct orders from commanders to enforce the law, but they are prevented by law from establishing a ticket quota.
“What we disagree with is going out there for a 24-hour period and write infractions and fleece the public,” Matthews told Capitol Watch. “We’re going to inform the public.”
When the department generates huge numbers of tickets on holiday weekends in an all-hands-on-deck effort, Matthews said there is a reason.
“They’re actually taking everyone and doing traffic enforcement,” he said. “The reason you see the high numbers is there’s federal grant money for people to go out during the holidays.”
The issue became public last week when an internal memo was leaked, and a second memo said that troopers would receive pizza if they issued more tickets than other barracks. Days later, the department’s commissioner denied there was a quota, and the chief spokesman said the original memo had been inartfully phrased.
“I think the public can determine whether it was misinterpreted or not,” Matthews said.
Law enforcement, he said, is an expensive business.
“You don’t make money for the state solving a burglary,” Matthews said. “We disagree with a statewide campaign to blitz the public. That’s not our job. ”
He added that officers need to maintain the discretion about whether to issue tickets or written warnings, rather than being forced to automatically issue tickets.
“Where are we going? That is where we don’t want to go,” Matthews said. ”We’re the Connecticut State Police, and we’re proud of it.”