NEWPORT (TN) - Leaders in Cocke County are considering reexamining the county's constable system.
Constables are elected law enforcement officers. They don't draw a salary.
Instead they're paid based on the number of tickets they write or warrants they serve.
The scrutiny comes after at least one complaint to the Cocke County Legislative Body.
Harold Cates owns a gas station at the Hartford exit on I-40 in Cocke County. Cates says constables Derek Wright and Jimmy Roach have set up speed traps and issued citations on a stretch of the interstate between the Exit 443 and the North Carolina border.
"That's where the speed limit is 55 miles per hour and there is no car that goes 55. Every car that goes on this interstate will exceed 55 miles per hour, and they can catch them as fast as they can write tickets," said Cates.
By law, constables get a partial kickback for issuing citations, making arrests, and serving court summons. A constable in Tennessee gets $27.50 for writing a speeding ticket...
Now, I think it makes sense for constables to receive compensation for warrants served.
Prosecutors and/or judges are waiting for criminal and civil warrants to be delivered so that the court cases can be moved forward.
But for traffic citations?
Do citizens really want Constable Bubba high-fiving himself at the end of a long day of ticket writing because he now can afford that Ranger Z522 Comanche bass boat and a trip to Dollywood with his sweetie?
Paying officers per traffic citation makes about as much sense as compensating college professors for each "A" grade earned by a student in his/her class.
Maybe, that might work for those teaching in college.
Just give everyone an "A" and collect the big check.
I wonder if the Mrs. would like the Wild Eagle coaster at Dollywood?