MEMPHIS, TN (abc24.com) - Memphis police officers say they've been told to write more tickets or else. More than 20,000 traffic tickets were given out over the span of three months late last year.
According to officers, the increased ticketing was an order that came from the top. Sources say this year, police have been told to once again, ticket tirelessly.
Mike Williams, President of the Memphis Police Association, told abc24.com, "I really hope that's not the case."
Williams admits he has heard grumblings that patrol officers have been instructed to write more tickets, and he doesn't think it's right.
"Don't have officers targeting people, putting pressure on officers to target people" he said. "It's one thing to have to deal with hostile situations in the street. I hope they're not producing hostile environments with the police department itself."
Cherisse Scott had just left 201 Poplar to pay her traffic ticket. She said if officers are being forced to monitor traffic and issue more tickets, "I would prefer officers be placed in areas where we could utilize their talents and utilize them in a position to protect us."
Memphis Police Director Toney Armstrong denied any order to increase tickets had been given, but stood by the need to be vigilant with traffic stops.
"It's illegal for us to force anyone to write traffic tickets... with that said, traffic enforcement is just as much a part of our police work as anything else. The best arrests we've ever made have been off of traffic stops. You try to minimize it, but if you go to family members who have lost someone in a traffic fatality, I don't think you can minimize it to them," he said. "Traffic enforcement is important - it's essential to the safety of our citizens and it's something we're going to continue to do."