Having worked The Job for many years, one of decisions I've seen many Departments adopt is the use of Police Officers as an additional source of revenue for the Village coffers.
While Broken Windows tasked Police Officers with treating everyone living in certain areas, usually People of Color as potential criminals, most Departments also have policies on the books so Officers treat the people, they are ostensibly tasked with protecting and serving, as ATMs.
Jaywalking? $50. Underage drinking? $100. Cannabis smoking pipe? Another $100. DUI arrest? Tack on the administrative tow fee. Left wheel to curb? Overnight Parking? 30 minute parking limit? Ca-ching, ca-ching, ca-ching...
From the small Village of Bull Valley, in McHenry County Illinois comes the story of traffic stops by the BVPD using a non-moving infraction as a revenue generator. BVPD is stopping construction vehicles that do not have proper lettering and signage on the side of the vehicle and issuing a Village Ordinance Citation based on State Law 625 ILCS 5/12-713. The problem is even though Illinois Representative Dan Burke said he crafted the changes in the law to allow application to be handed locally instead of through District Courts, the "loop-hole" discovered by Bull Valley's Chief of Police is not against the letter of the law.
Now, why are Police Departments doing this? The reason is simple, taxes are too low on the wealthy and Corporations therefore various Towns need some way to make up budget shortfalls. Especially in Illinois, where for the privilege of having Boening's Corporate Headquarters in Chicago, Boening pays an effective tax rate of near Zero Percent. Other large "Illinois-based" Corporations similarly benefit from tax code legerdemain.
But, despite the retasking Police Officers haven't been able to generate enough! Thus, enter the automated Red Light and Speed Cameras in the City of Chicago and Suburbs. In 2014, Suburban Red Light Cameras took in $12 million. These fines are of course borne dispropotionately by Working Class people driving to and from work.
Turning Cops into Debt and Dues Collectors has been the most wrongheaded decisions adopted by municipalities across the Nation as Villages struggle to meet financial obligations. But, it's only going to increase as the Rich transfer more and more of the financial burden onto the vanishing Middle Class and beleaguered Working Class.
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