CBS News Chicago Consults with Attorney Michael A. Campbell

CBS News Chicago reached out to Attorney Michael A. Campbell to provide an analysis on whether the utilization of traffic quotas by law enforcement is lawful in Indiana. Unlike in Illinois where traffic quotas are made unlawful by state statute, in Indiana they are lawful but certainly suspect.

Many law enforcement agencies in Indiana, including the Indiana State Police, refuse to acknowledge the use of traffic quotas, choosing instead to re-label them as “performance standards.” Under the label of “performance standards”, the issuance of traffic citations is one of presumably several factors that impact an officer’s career advancement as well as over time opportunities.

The core issue with traffic quotas is they cast doubt on the legitimacy of traffic stops performed by law enforcement. At a minimum, law enforcement must have reasonable suspicion that a traffic violation occurred to lawfully pull a motorist and temporarily detain them. Absent reasonable suspicion, the traffic stop is in violation of the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution as well as Article 1, Section 11 of the Indiana Constitution.

A questionable traffic stop becomes a significant issue when the stop itself leads to an arrest for an alleged crime. If the stop was unlawful, then typically the evidence of alleged criminal conduct gathered from the stop can be suppressed from use at trial. Often when this evidence is not admissible at trial the State is unable to meet its burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

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