In our example, an urban community has two freeways within its boundaries. The agency deploys two units to each freeway for two 10-hour shifts, six days a week. Officers are expected to write an average of three moving violations (each) per hour. The average amount collected is around $110 per ticket. It is also estimated that the increased citizen contact will result in two additional DUI arrests per shift.
Providing sufficient primary and backup officers along with supervision, cars, equipment, overtime, and other costs are all included in the calculation.
The bottom line: income in excess of expenses is $9.4 million per year.Towing service franchise fees
Every law enforcement agency has created relationships with one (or more) towing services. In some cases, there is no cost to the city. Other times, the city may pay for certain services and get others gratis.
Whether handled on a rotation basis or with a sole provider, the police department is generating business for tow operators. In any other viable private-sector arrangement, the tow operator would pay a commission or finder's fee to anyone bringing him business.
If an agency runs a rotation of multiple tow operators, it can charge an annual fee to these businesses for being on its list. The amount will vary based on how many vehicles the operator can expect to tow. I suggest a minimum of $5,000 per year and an upper limit of $25,000 per year.
Every time dispatch calls for a tow, the tow operator also may be charged $25. If the tow truck driver arrives on scene within 10 minutes, the fee is cut to $10. This approach provides a financial incentive for the operator to get there fast and cuts the time officers spend at the scene.
Invariably, some vehicles remain at the tow operator's yard and result in the owner paying storage fees. The agency would receive 10 percent of all storage fees collected by the tow operator.
And, if the tow operator ultimately sells the vehicle because it is never claimed by the owner, the department receives 33 percent of the profit from the sale.
Tow operators will howl when such fees are announced. But the reality is the costs will be passed along to vehicle owners. It's just another form of a user fee.Safe streets
This concept is a win-win for all involved. Cops in the department get a healthy dose of overtime on a regular basis, the number of vehicle crashes plummets, and police revenues get a healthy bump.
Here's how it works. A department creates four hour-long overtime blocks at the end of each shift. Officers can sign up to work them at their own discretion. Agencies may want to create a maximum number of blocks that a single officer can work in any period to ensure he gets enough rest. In an eight-hour shift day, there would be three blocks per day; 21 blocks per week. Multiple officers can work at any one time — to the limit that cars are available.
An officer working this time block is expected to write at least three moving violation citations — 12 tickets for the block. If any officer misses the mark twice in a month, he may not sign up again for 30 days. If an officer gets a DUI arrest, he automatically fulfills the requirement for the entire block.
In this example, two cops work at the end of both the day and afternoon shifts. One cop works at the end of the midnight shift. That's five blocks per day.
Calculating the income from the fines and ticket costs, and subtracting the costs for wages and overtime leaves a community with $2,735,000 of additional revenue each year.Fees for VIN checks
In some states, when a tow operator has an abandoned car and wants to sell it, he must have the police department perform a VIN check. This ensures the vehicle is not stolen and doesn't have any liens on it. In one Michigan city, it was determined that as much as 10 hours per week was being devoted these types of inquiries.
The police department in this city made a change. VIN checks performed on vehicles brought to the main police station were done free of charge, but those performed at elsewhere cost $100 each.
We've all been sent to guard downed electric wires following a severe storm. Though it's for public safety reasons, officers are guarding the assets of a private company and preventing the utility from being sued if a citizen is hurt or killed.