Ticket-Crazed Virginia Hands Out 6,996 in One Weekend
States across the nation look to motorists as a way to fix budget gaps
By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 11, 2010 9:12 AM CST
Tickets are good for revenue.   (Shutterstock)

(Newser) – In the olden days, cops handed out traffic tickets to keep us safe; in our brave, new, cash-strapped world, states and municipalities are pushing police to hand out as many as possible—for the money they bring in. Just look at Virginia, where last weekend police wrote 6,996 tickets in a federally funded effort to line the state’s coffers called “Operation Air, Land, and Speed.” And the fines aren't paltry: Get caught going, say, 60 in a 45 mph zone in the Old Dominion State and you could pay a whopping $2,500.

The law establishing such massive fines for minor violations is not coy: “The purpose,” it reads, “is to generate revenue.” Cops aren’t thrilled about their new role. “They’re trying to use police officers to balance the budget on the backs of drivers and it’s too bad,” a Michigan lawman tells the Business Insider. “We might as well just go door to door and tell people, ‘Slide us $100.’” Even if cops rebel, governments can still bring in the dough the automatic way. Revenue from red-light cameras in LA went from $200,000 to $400,000 a month between 2007 and 2009.