- Associated Press - Friday, November 20, 2020

SPARTA, Ill. (AP) - A southern Illinois city acted illegally when it evaluated police officers partly by their number of tickets, the state Supreme Court said.

The court said Sparta’s policy violated state law, which bars ticket quotas.

Sparta in 2013 adopted a monthly “activity points system” to review its officers. They could earn points a variety of ways, including extra duty assignments, shooting range training, traffic stops and tickets.

Officers could be disciplined if they failed to reach the minimum monthly points. Monthly and annual awards were based on most points earned above the minimum.

“By granting awards based on points of contact, the policy may provide an incentive for officers to write citations to accumulate as many points as possible. … A points-of-contact system may not include the issuance of citations,” the court said Thursday.

Sparta in Randolph County argued that its policy wasn’t illegal because officers could meet a monthly point threshold without writing tickets.

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