In 2004 the Washington County, Virginia Board of Supervisors voted to allow the county sheriff's office to keep 80 percent of revenue generated from traffic tickets. Now previously the revenue split was much less and the incentive for cops to issue tickets was obviously a lot less too. So what happened after these new laws came in?
The number of speeding citations written has skyrocketed. The revenue splitting arrangement allows the sheriff to direct revenue windfall toward overtime pay for deputies as well as a "salary supplement" of $2400 for those who perform well.
In 2004, just prior to the new policy, the sheriff's office wrote 1602 traffic tickets. The following year after the new laws, the sheriff's office wrote 10,018 tickets. Whats even more interesting is that most of the tickets were issued to motorists traveling on Interstate 81 with the average charge being 79 MPH which is mysteriously just under the threshold for reckless driving under state law, (a charge requiring significant court time and effort to prosecute - otherwords less time to eat donuts).
The total amount taken from motorists totaled $516,072 USD in the first year-and-a-half under the revenue sharing deal. This more than doubled the county's cut from from around $60,000 to $135,214 while allowing the sheriff to divvy up $166,000 of the bounty among his deputies.
Thankfully, we don't live in the states and these laws are not similar to the ones here in Australia, nonetheless at least we know now that we don't have it THAT bad!
Source : Deputies say speeding tickets worth the effort (Bristol Herald Courier (VA), 3/5/2007)