Report finds Connecticut state troopers faked thousands of traffic tickets

Originally published at: Report finds Connecticut state troopers faked thousands of traffic tickets | Boing Boing


At least the KPIs are being protected and served; so there’s that.


I mean…that’s literally what the idiom means. One bad apple spoils the barrel.


An idiom whose original meaning has been deliberately forgotten and inverted, like “pulling yourself up by your bootstraps” (which is impossible, and that’s the point).


Right. But people don’t understand the original idiom. So I’m hoping maybe if it’s more than one bad apple, it might get the point across.


How do you “inadvertently” write a fake ticket? Did the pen just happen to fall and tick all the right boxes, then when you bent to pick it up it slipped and wrote your signature?

Also, if there were somehow accidental, I’m not sure that’s better. Seems like a pretty major competence problem.


…and then inadvertently write 28,000 more fake tickets?

To the police chief, I say

Jennifer Lawrence Reaction GIF


How do fake tickets work? Are they given to people who don’t exist? Or are they tagging plates and writing tickets and then you get a ticket in the mail and you’re just fucked and pay the fine? Did people fight it?


The article doesn’t go into detail; but does say:

Mellekas also stressed no drivers were actually issued fake tickets; officers only entered phony ticket information into databases. “No one in the public received any fake ticket,” he said.

That suggests that nobody was doing very careful checking; but that the offenders were aiming more for comparatively low-profile number massaging rather than risking having imaginary tickets contested.

It also says that some of the initial 4 officers caught were just shoving imaginary tickets into the system to juice their performance numbers; but the summary of the broader inquiry doesn’t break down whether the manipulation was fictitious tickets, futzing with the details of actual tickets for one reason or another, or a combination of the two.


Ah. So an example of Goodhart’s Law.

I am kind of honestly torn on this one. The cops found a way to inflate stupid performance metrics that did not actually hurt citizens.

It isn’t good, but it could have been much worse.


When I read “That’s what my dad’s CT golf buddies would likely say, anyway.” I immediately thought this was a cross-post relating to that other CT’s corruption scandals AND now Thom Dunn’s father is somehow involved. Crazy!


I support this conspiracy theory


Since ACAB isn’t new and I’m all out of rage, I’ll just post this hilarious video about a screwed up traffic ticket:


Or to cover something up. Cops realize they are issuing a large number of tickets to People of Color, and so pump the database with fake tickets for White people, to balance things out.


Pumping numbers for work metrics is theft if pay is involved. All the tickets from all the offices who made these false ones need to be refunded and removed from peoples records.


I wonder if these troopers had ticket quotas they were supposed to fill. If that’s the case, then they were doing the decent thing, rather than issuing real tickets to people for bullshit reasons. I suspect that’s not what was going on, though - it was purely about ginning up their numbers to make themselves look good for advancement (and, as a side-effect, making themselves look less racist, though it sounds like they separately altered the numbers given to the racial profiling oversight group, too).

It sounds like they had to separately enter the tickets they issued into another system that just kept track of their numbers for internal purposes. In theory one could make a mistake and the ticket information wouldn’t match the other database entry, or one could screw up the issuing of the ticket but enter it correctly in the other system. Which yeah, isn’t any better - there’s no option that indicates anything but incompetence or fraud.

What I gleaned from the article is that there were basically two systems in place: one for the issuing of tickets, and another that was the reporting of the issuing of tickets (or warnings) that was purely for internal purposes and had no real-world effect (beyond tracking the cops’ stats). The two systems had the information separately and manually entered (issuing a ticket didn’t automatically create an entry in the other system), so the cops could just enter in totally fake information in the reporting database of supposed tickets given, without issuing any actual tickets. (I.e. they told their bosses they issued tickets when they hadn’t.) I get the impression the tracking database wasn’t that detailed and there weren’t records about the identities of people supposedly given tickets - they caught the fraud by just looking at the number of tickets actually issued and the number supposedly issued.

Sounds like that might have been part of it, but it also sounds like they did some separate record fuckery to change those numbers, too.


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