- According to a report from The Birmingham News, a small town in Alabama has grown its police force in recent years by getting close to 49% of its total revenue from traffic fines and forfeitures alone.
- The report emphasized that officers are incentivized to engage in forfeitures. The state doesn’t track forfeiture spending, and the agencies are allowed to keep 100% of the proceeds.
- Some residents claim that officers have tried to issue tickets or threatened arrest, citing laws that don’t even exist — like jail time for not having an ID.
Madison Hall from Insider writes:
“A small town in Alabama steadily grew its police force in recent years, and it now rakes in nearly half of its revenue from traffic fines and forfeitures alone, according to a report from The Birmingham News.
Brookside, Alabama — a town of just 1,253 people — hired Police Chief Mike Jones in 2018. At the time, he was the force’s only full-time officer.
But the town consistently hired more officers in the years since, and as a result, traffic stops in the area have skyrocketed, the Birmingham News reported.
Since Jones’ hiring in 2018, the town’s revenue from ticket fines and forfeitures has ballooned from $82,467 in 2018 to $610,307 in 2020, amounting to close to 49% of Brookside’s total revenue, the Birmingham News reported, citing local crime data.
The number of arrests also grew by 1,109% between 2018 and 2020, with local police making more misdemeanor arrests than it had residents in 2020, the Birmingham News reported…”
See full story here.