motorcycle policeman with radar gun

For the average motorist, dealing with law enforcement usually amounts trying to get out of a traffic citation. So it's understandable that we sometimes are less than thrilled to see them on our roads. But keep in mind that the police are the first responders whenever there is trouble, and the men and women in blue are looking out for our best interests more than many of us realize.

Case in point? Los Angeles police officers Howard Chan and David Benioff sued the city for instituting a ticket quota system (we knew it!). According to the Los Angeles Times, the officers alleged that they were instructed to write up 18 tickets each per shift. And not just any ticket – we're talking high-dollar offenses like blowing stop signs and other major moving violations.

The Los Angeles Times reports that the officers won their civil case by an 11-1 vote and were awarded a $2 million judgment due to a loss of reputation and work actions that resulted from the officers' refusal to meet that quota. Gregory Smith, Benioff's lawyer, says that he hopes the decision helps eradicate quotas, adding that the practice is "a direct violation of the vehicle code and this case was about these officers being asked to break the law."

The city's defense was that the department had broad goals for tickets, but only to improve safety and decrease fatalities. Former LAPD Commander Paul Kim tells a different story, testifying that weather, paramedic response times and the price of gas were more likely more significant reasons for traffic deaths. Hat tip to Bo!

[Source: Los Angeles Times | Image: Corbis]