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Fla. Cop Fired for Writing Too Many Tickets

June 08, 2012  | 

A Palm Beach (Fla.) Police Department officer who wrote 115 tickets in one month earlier this year has been fired for excessive traffic enforcement.

Officer William Eaton, who wrote 222 citations in 2011, was terminated after the town's director of public safety said his ticket-writing frenzy violated several department rules, including conduct unbecoming and using his position to intimidate the citizenry, reports the Palm Beach Post.

Eaton is appealing the firing, saying he wrote the tickets after the department switched to a merit-based system and he wanted to ensure he would be among the top officers to receive a $6,000 bonus.

Tags: Traffic Enforcement, Officer Conduct, Florida, Officer Fired


Comments (34)

Displaying 1 - 34 of 34

Bob@Az. @ 6/8/2012 6:21 PM

"Excessive traffic enforcement" Right. Department pushes for more citations to qualify for a six grand "bonus". Sounds like a TV show. I think the PBPD should be looked at by someone else, like maybe the Staties?

paul @ 6/8/2012 6:53 PM

Wow I would have fired several times

Hoshi @ 6/8/2012 7:22 PM

All I got was a toaster

Hallur Hallsson @ 6/8/2012 8:11 PM

Pff, I hope my bosses don't read this and get inspired.

jkraemer @ 6/8/2012 10:24 PM

I don't get it. Offer 6 grand bonus to do more. Do more and get fired?

Ryan @ 6/8/2012 11:34 PM

I suspect that the town's director of public safety may be guilty of general douchebaggery. Seriously, how much more of a mixed message can you send an officer?

Tim in SAC @ 6/11/2012 2:53 AM

I suspect this has more to do with WHOM he cited. I imagine someone specifically.

John @ 6/11/2012 4:31 PM

This really needs to be looked in to. A target bonus? Fired?

jbar @ 6/11/2012 4:39 PM

I don't understand, that amount was the average citation amount at my first post in a one horse town. If we didn't average about a hundred citations we were questioned about not doing anything since we were a cross road between two major highways. I think he cited the "wrong person" and got canned for it.

Robocop @ 6/11/2012 4:57 PM

I have to agree with my colleagues, it appears that he ticketed the wrong people. You give a $6k bonus to an Officer for the most tickets doesn't it seem to reason that he will write as may as he can? It DOES NOT say that the tickets were not justified. This Officer needs to be re-instated, given the $6k bonus and then this "merit" garbage rescinded immediately. 115 a month in a town as large as Palm Beach should be considered as nothing more than a working police officer. In the much smaller town I worked in you were expected to write 100 tickets a month or an average of 5 a day. It could be more, it could be less. This was such a low amount that I was able to let 4 out or 5 violators go with a warning, only stop really good violators, and still wrote around 150 a month! Palm Beach has a wealthy citizenship who apparently do not like this 'servants' to be pestering them when they violate the law.

Sheriff John @ 6/11/2012 5:15 PM

$6,000.00 bonus, for tickets? Huh? What kinda law enforcement is that? When I worked a "T" car I was expected to write 4 or 5 movers a day. Maybe a little over a 100 a month.

No bonus for us at L.A. Sheriff, coulda used a toaster though like Hoshi. Sounds like Palm Beach is a little bit nutty. Probably a big part of this story is missing but it makes a good yarn so far.

jim caldwell @ 6/11/2012 5:20 PM

typical, institute a foolish policy, direct enforcement then abandon the guy on the frontline when it becomes unpopular

gary808 @ 6/11/2012 5:36 PM

Damn if you do and damned you don't.

Imawolf @ 6/11/2012 5:37 PM

We have motor officers here the write 25-50 a day. Talk about turning your force into a bunch of slugs. Whats next? Don't offend the dopers and bank robbers?

Capt David LACO Retired @ 6/11/2012 5:41 PM

I used to write 40 in a day in a radar car. As a station captain I would expect, not demand, traffic units to produce at least 5 cites a shift. A monkey at a 4 way stop could do that.

slobull @ 6/11/2012 6:04 PM

Damn I did 150 in a month. Got someone's panties in bunch and was told to knock it off. Later I wrote like 7 in 20 minutes and was told to only answer radio traffic, I wash't given a call for the rest of the day. I looked for a rock to kick and caught some bank robbers, no more BS after that.

Bob T.retired NYS LEO @ 6/11/2012 6:28 PM

wow. I don't think I gave out that many tickets in 20 years on the job. WE had a book of 20 summonses for A MONTH and had to use them each month.

Charlie @ 6/11/2012 6:56 PM

Tickets?! Who the hell has time for tickets?!! They should give the kid an award.....WTF?!!

TXdeputy @ 6/11/2012 7:14 PM

I hope that officer had some sort of FOP. I am positive he wrote someone who influenced the city by their big pocket book or status. I am sure he has a case and will another job fairly easy. He got short changed for being a proactive officer. That's BS!

Sgt B @ 6/11/2012 7:17 PM

Would love to comment but I'm busy prepping ticket books...

notmeofficer @ 6/11/2012 7:30 PM

In California it is illegal to offer any incentive for writing citations,,, however this does not mean production isn't used as a means of employee performance evals... again..mixed message....

At one point a sergeant put everyone's stats up on a monthly board as a gentle way to peer pressure more production... what it showed is something we already know... 20 percent of the crews do 80 percent of the work

In this case based upon what we have this officer should get his job back and the city turd should receive a reprimand

Tin Man @ 6/12/2012 12:33 AM

Only 100 in a month?? Let's get crackin' Palm Beach. Out here on the Left Coast I wrote 572 one month. No one said a thing, no toaster, no bonus, nothing. That's what happens when a motor cop leaves his heart at home on ice before he goes to work!! :)

Ty @ 6/12/2012 2:46 AM

Seems prety shadey to me. He had to have wrote the wrong person or persons who knew someone of power and cried to get the ticket dismissed. The police union there should get his job back and get that garbage rule out of the department.

OLD SGT @ 6/12/2012 5:15 AM

Robocop "Hit the Nail on the Head" I couldn't have said it better. I too issued 5-10 tickets per shift and worked about 20 shifts a month when I worked 8hr shifts, then we switched to 12hr shifts working about 12 shifts per month. 100-200 tickets a month shows that the officer is "Working" and not wasting time. Traffic enforcement isn't for everyone! Accident prevention and reduction of injury due to speed are of prime importance. In my state this $6K

reward would be considered illegal. The Public Safety Director needs

to be investigated. The International Chiefs of Police organization should get involved and evaluate this Departments status. I hope Officer Eaton is backed up by a strong union lawyer.

Spcwes @ 6/12/2012 5:48 AM

If the officer was writing people for violations of the posted laws then how can he be fired? A Chief CAN NOT tell an officer of the law which laws to enforce and which not to enforce. Sounds shady as hell to me.

Phil @ 6/12/2012 6:00 AM

The first department I worked for was a smaller town by LA County standards and if you only wrote 115 tickets a month you would be looked at as a slacker. Working radar in the school zones you could write that many in a day. Our saying was "a ticket book a day keeps the brass away".

Traffic Guru @ 6/12/2012 7:16 AM

Wow, I can hardly believe what I am reading. There must be department procedures or policies governing traffic enforcement. I wrote 450 citations in a month before and no bonus.

IvanaSpeed @ 6/12/2012 8:02 AM

I'm still trying to figure out how enforcing the law is "conduct unbecoming" LOL. Isn't enforcing the law his job? It would be unbecoming to ignore violations, or sleep on duty, persay! I think someone's definitions are screwed up!

Michael @ 6/12/2012 9:22 AM

I don't know any good officer who could or would go from 222 citations in a year to 115 citations in a month for a shot at a bonus. I wonder if he was trying to make a point. Maybe a good point, maybe a selfish point? I imagine the officers I look up to, and they would be offended at the proposition of a merit-based system. I imagine the officers I worry about, and they would do something like this.

Carlo @ 6/12/2012 12:13 PM

What happened to progressive discilinary action? If the officer did anything wrong.....

Jack Betz @ 6/12/2012 2:31 PM

What the bloody be dammed hell was the town thinking, top officers get a bonus. That sounds like paying an officer out of the amount of traffic fines he writes for the city. Which I might add is illegal here in TX

Fed Cop @ 6/13/2012 7:40 AM

Tim, you might be right. Probably cited the Chief's, Mayor's, and City Director's mistresses (or mistress (budget cuts you know, had to lay off (sic) the others for cost saving))

Neil Harner @ 6/13/2012 7:55 AM

Sounds like he issued citations to friends of Public Safety Director. I think he has a legitimate complaint against the city. They can't have it both ways.

Yale H. @ 6/16/2012 2:09 PM

We were discussing this case during a FOP conference in Palm Beach Gardens, FL There have been a total of four officers fired and several moved out of specialty units. It's more of a union busting move than anything which unfortunately seems to be a trend with municipalities more and more lately. There is also a video clip of the officer that pulled over a citizen and was berated by the driver and he had to stand there and take it.

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