Ask the Chief

Misunderstandings with the Law Enforcement

You don't have to go very far to find posts or conversations where people are debating aspects of law enforcement. The issues being discussed include, tickets being used as a revenue (tax) collection tool, tickets being issued to satisfy a quota, encouraging people to NOT cooperate or talk to law enforcement when stopped, victimless crimes and the impression that officers are bullies.

I would like to address each of these topic so that you may have a better understanding and hopefully a better experience when talking to an officer.

1. Are tickets issued to increase revenue? I can't speak for other states but in Minnesota, writing tickets is not profitable for the department or the city. When you pay a ticket your money goes to the state. The state then returns a very small amount of the fine to the city for the purpose of paying for prosecution of crimes. The police department and the city has no control over the fine amount or the added fees imposed by the state. The reality is that tickets cause far more problems for public relations and the image of the community than any amount of money that a city would receive from the state.

2. Do cops have a quota of tickets they must write? There is a state law that says it illegal for a police department or a city to set quotas for tickets. As mentioned above, tickets are not profitable. In addition, we want officers to make decisions based upon their observations and conversation with people rather than based upon an arbitrary rule made in an office.

3. Should I talk to the cops? Over the last several years, there has been a growing movement that encourages people to not cooperate with law enforcement. This movement has supported, encouraged and justified violence against officers along with telling people that it is not in their best interest to cooperate with law enforcement. As a result, we have seen a complete breakdown in communication between the public and officers. Ask yourself this, how will an officer help you if you won't talk to them? How can an officer make a good decision about what to do if you won't talk to them? Why should you be given a warning or shown leniency if you won't talk to the officer and politely and honestly tell them your side of the story? What do you honestly think is going to happen when an officer must make a decision based upon limited information because you thought it was better not to talk to the officer? Yes, you do have a right not to incriminate yourself but just because you have a right doesn't mean using it in all situations is the best idea.

4. Victimless crimes. This is an old argument used by people who want to justify their illegal behavior. Every law exists for a reason and every law was created and voted for by publicly elected officials; not the police. I have never found a victimless law as every violation of law has an impact either directly or indirectly on someone. I would challenge anyone to show me a law that has no impact on the individual who committed the crime, a victim or the community at large.

5. Do cops like to be bullies? I can't not deny that there are people in law enforcement who are bullies and who should have never been given the privilege to serve. I also can't deny that some officers have become bullies out of frustration with what they see as a failed justice system. All of us have seen the media report of horrible police misconduct. However, the problem is not systemic. Bad officers are the exception and not the rule regardless of what the media or politicians would have your believe. If you have more questions or would like to discuss anything in detail, please contact me. I am happy to listen and together we can become more informed and better people.

Minneota Police Chief Bill Bolt

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The Minneota Mascot
Address: 201 N. Jefferson
Minneota, MN 56264

Phone:(507) 872-6492