Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt has launched an investigation into Missouri State University in Springfield for allegedly having parking ticket quotas and violating state law. In a press release, Schmitt says his office learned through anonymous reports that the school’s Office of University Safety encouraged officers to write an increasing amount of parking tickets to boost funding for the department and school.
According to the Attorney General’s Office, whistleblowers contacted the office with “credible information” outlining their concerns. The whistleblowers were concerned that they were violating the law as they complied with the direction of their supervisors to increase the number of parking tickets, satisfying quotas of parking tickets, and increasing the number of boots placed upon cars, in an effort to further increase revenue for the University and to hire additional officers. It was reported to the Attorney General’s Office that the Office of University Safety increased the number of hours dedicated to ticketing enforcement, directing its safety officers to spend the additional hours “solely on parking enforcement.”
Schmitt says the University appears to have established ticket quotas, monitoring the number of tickets its offices issue on a daily basis. Reports are that safety officers were told to “step up” their ticket counts. One supervisor appears to have told officers to “show people what we are made of.”
Missouri State University has responded to claims of its Department of University Safety using parking ticket quotas:
“The Missouri attorney general’s office has notified Missouri State University that it will investigate allegations regarding the legality of certain ticketing practices by the university’s parking and transportation services department. The university is cooperating fully with the attorney general’s office and will provide all materials requested during the investigation.”
“As a university, we take great pride in providing a safe and fair environment for our students and visitors,” said President Clif Smart. “If the investigation finds that any of our practices violated the law, we will take all necessary actions to promptly correct the situation.”
“The university has not been provided with specific allegations nor a targeted completion date for the investigation. MSU will respond to inquiries when the attorney general’s office completes its investigation.”
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