Red Ink

First…here is a link to the full report: Red Ink.

Gary Wagner, the report’s co-author told me simply…”there’s an incentive there to issue tickets, apart from public safety.” He said if there wasn’t an incentive…than the relationship depicted by the graph wouldn’t exist. 

Ticket Date from NC


Wagner said the data came back with 95% certainty. 

The average across all counties in North Carolina was 11 tickets per 100 residents. He said Bladen and Sampson counties issued more tickets than the state average….about 15 per one hundred NC residents. Onslow county had a below average rate and New Hanover county was just about average.


When I met with Chief Evangelous…he was clearly not to pleased with the report. In his defense…its never enjoyable to hear that someone…outside of your department or industry (i.e. a researcher) is making an unfavorable claim against your work. Police officers have been criticized about quotas and unscrupulous ticket writting…for as long as tickets…have been written. The issue of quotas has surfaced in cities across America and often generates significant backlash…I’m not sure if the arguement has ever arisen here.


Here are some quotes from the Chief that I think you might like to see:


“The county does not dictate how we operate…we are a separate entitiy. We are the city. We dont get any revenue from any enforcement we do. NONE. So I dont know where he’s getting this hypothesis from. He might want to go back to the drawing board.”


“We dont have quotas. We dont tell our officers to write tickets or not write tickets. What we tell them to do is take enforcement action to reduce deaths, reduce injury accidents, to reduce overall accidents within the city.”


He was heated…but I understand why.


After that I headed right over the the Sheriff’s Department. I met with Deputy Charles Smith and First Deputy Ed McMahon. I have to say…considering the controversial nature of the topic….this was one of the most enjoyable interviews I’ve had! McMahon and Smith gave me some recent numbers and we talked at length about what could really be happening to generate these results. Here is more from that conversation with McMahon:


“Its almost offensive to me that our job is to protect and serve and to help the citizens. For someone to be out there indicating that we here in this county would…be trying to take advantage of citizens who are already in trouble financially…so that we could have more money…it is so offensive to me. We dont do it. We never have and we never will.”


I picked up the research where the study left off. From 2003 until 2008…when the economy has been at its worst. I posted those results at the end of the story…but here is a breakdown:





Citations Issued 2003                                                    5484

Citations Issued 2004                                                     4,883

Citations Issued 2005                                                     5,227

Citations Issued 2006                                                    7,595                     Citations Issued 2007                                                    7,301                     Citations Issued 2008                                                     8,381 – 4 Additional Deputies


On another note: per month…since July…there tickets have been declining.



Wilmington Police Department                                 


2003       19,383                                                                                  

2004       22,327                                                                                  

2005       19,607                                                                                  

2006       19,945                                                                                  

2007       17,282                                                                                  

2008       16,874                                                                                 




Their numbers have actually been going down.



Data for all NC counties

Data for all NC counties







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