Illinois Supreme Court strikes down Sparta’s policy on police citations

By Sarah Mansur

Capitol News Illinois

The state’s highest court has struck down a southern Illinois city’s policy that partly evaluates police officers on the number of citations officers issue, finding it violates an Illinois law prohibiting ticket quotas.

On Thursday, Nov. 19, the Illinois Supreme Court ruled unanimously in favor of the labor union that represents police officers in the Randolph County city of Sparta. 

The union, known as the Policemen’s Benevolent Labor Committee, sued Sparta over the city’s activity-points policy used for evaluating the performance of its police officers. The policy required all full-time officers to meet a monthly point minimum, based on actions that include issuing citations, making traffic stop warnings and taking on extra duty assignments.

Each action carried a different point value. For example, citations were worth two points while traffic stop warnings were worth one point.

In September 2018, the police union filed a lawsuit against the city that claimed the activity-points policy violates the section of the Illinois Municipal Code that prohibits cities and towns from implementing ticket quotas. The Illinois General Assembly amended the state municipal code in 2014 with a section titled, “quotas prohibited.”

For more on this story, please see this week’s print edition.