Law enforcement, corruption, and the public money / by kevin murray


It is always a mistake to allow those that are in charge of enforcing the law, such as police officers; or of jailing and keeping of inmates such as wardens or sheriffs; to have direct access to the money that is necessitated in order to run these operations or to have fines and other infractions directly paid to the officer on duty.  That is to say, when an officer pulls a person over for speeding or some other infraction, common sense, dictates that an option to pay the fine directly to the officer that has written the infraction is the type of thing that would obviously be abused to the advantage of the officer so writing the infraction.  So too,  when the warden or sheriff is provided directly with the funds to provide the necessary foods for the inmates that the warden or sheriff is in charge of, quite obviously, that is something that would create a strong tendency for the warden or sheriff to directly benefit from at the expense of the inmates and their meals.


To run any police force or incarceration facility necessitates the need for money.  In the case of law officers, part of the budget that certain departments have to work with, is generated from the tickets and infractions so written to the population at large. So too, for police departments that are not funded directly with a portion of the proceeds from those tickets and infractions, these are typically funded by property taxes or other taxing agencies, yet, indirectly, the monies generated by that police department through citations and tickets is ultimately going to be channeled through the property taxes or other taxing agencies in a manner, in which the police department is able to sustain itself.  That is to say, for New Jersey in 2015, as reported by, "A total of $405,611,768 was collected in 2015 from tickets issued," indicating that police departments know that they must issue a more or less specific dollar amount of tickets and infractions each year, which is the preeminent reason why so many tickets and infractions are generated, because the system requires that quota, though, it isn't actually designated as such.   In point of fact, budgets are built around tickets and infractions, along with the monetary fines associated with these, specifically as an aid to governmental budgets, as opposed to being of a service to the general public, or to the general safety of that public, or the general good for that public.


The incarceration business is big business because so many people are incarcerated; of which, there are still some jails and inmate facilities that are run as almost private fiefdoms of the local sheriff or warden.  So that, States such as Alabama, have laws on their books that essentially allocate the monies needed to feed the inmate population to the sheriff, of which, not surprisingly, this rather easily lends itself to the siphoning of that money or the skimming of that money, by sheriffs, so that they literally take money earmarked for the feeding of inmates, find a way to save on that food, by substituting cheaper items, and thereby keep the excess of that money for themselves.


In any institution, in which, funds are sent directly to the authority that is charge of the disbursement of these funds, of which there is not appropriate checks, balances, and transparency, it is almost inevitable that someone will become corrupt.  So too, when police officers are cognizant that they are basically required to write a certain amount of infractions and tickets each day,  they will do so, because to not do so will result in disciplinary action, and in all this, it is the public that ultimately pays.