We hear it a lot in New Jersey. Something that many drivers in the Garden State get paranoid about, and usually comes up every time we approach the end of the month.

It's that belief that police conduct some sort of ticket blitz to help fill their quota before the month comes to a close. And it's a belief that's been around for decades.

But it's not just a New Jersey belief. In fact, many believe that the ticket blitz happens in other states as well. It's almost like police departments are like retail where they must meet their bottom line come the close of the month.

In retail, if that bottom line appears to be running short, they might try to run some sort of promotion to help drum up the excitement to reach their sales goal. Police departments, however, aren't retail.

Now before I dive into my reasoning as to why I don't believe it's all that it seems, let's first look at what we know is true. The things we do notice on New Jersey highways.

Emergency vehicle lighting
Getty Images/iStockphoto

Yes, sometimes police are present

First off is the presence of patrol officers on our highways. Seems almost silly to even say this since it's pretty obvious.

We see them every once in a while, usually parked in the center median. Once noticed, we tend to quickly check our speed and adjust accordingly if needed.

Again, something we all know to be true. But just mentioning it to cover all bases.

Police Car Lights
Carolina K. Smith,M.D. ThinkStock

The numbers multiply

Every now and then, there definitely does appear to be an increase in the number of patrol cars watching along a particular stretch.

Sometimes it might seem like it's the entire length of a highway. It's something I've experienced myself while driving on New Jersey's roads.

The Garden State Parkway and I-195 are prime examples of where I've noticed this. Sometimes, the police presence checking for violations really ramps up.

Every few miles there seems to be another squad car, and more drivers do appear to get pulled over. It's an observation I'm sure many of you have noticed as well on many of our New Jersey highways.

Police car in pursuit

Taking a closer look at the "blitz"

On the surface, it certainly does seem like there are moments when cops issue more tickets on the roads.

But does this actually mean an end-of-month quota blitz is in progress? Sometimes it's hard not to believe this isn't the case, especially when we seem to notice an increased number of cars getting pulled over.

I honestly don't believe that the blitz for an end-of-month quota is a real thing, and here's why I feel that way.

Confused young man in the car stopped by policeman

The times of the month don't always match up

One reason behind my thinking has to do with when these officers tend to be on our highways. Although it's true that a squad car could be checking for speed at any given time, it's not common to see them one after another.

Yes, I've occasionally noticed an increased presence of police cars on I-195 and the Garden State Parkway, but it usually seems to be around the middle of the month, not the end.

I've also noticed more at the beginning of the month on other roadways, which would debunk the whole notion of an end-of-month blitz to meet quota.

Writing a ticket

It's been said there is no quota

Some officers I know have also come out and said there is no end-of-month quota blitz. And if you think about it, wouldn't it be against what police officers are there for in the first place?

Safety is, and should always be a top priority. As pointed out earlier, police departments aren't the same as retail departments. They're not trying to make a profit to hit their new monthly goals.

And logically speaking, the police do need to patrol our highways. We all know there are certain times of the year, or certain days of the week when volume usually increases.

There are many reasons why police might patrol a certain stretch of highway more heavily at certain times than others. But it doesn't mean it's a ticketing blitz, and it doesn't mean it's for an end-of-month quota.

NJ dad has son pulled over on purpose (courtesy Scott Harrell)
NJ dad has son pulled over on purpose (courtesy Scott Harrell)

An increase in pull-overs doesn't mean quota

Again, just because more pull-overs tend to happen when there's a heavier police presence doesn't mean they're trying to hit a so-called end-of-month quota.

More likely than not, some drivers might be letting their guard down and hitting the pedal just a little too hard. After they pass one officer, they speed back up before getting pulled over by the next officer a little bit further up.

More squad cars present with more travelers on the highway usually equates to more cars getting pulled over. It's as simple as that.

BCFC ThinkStock

It's still uncomfortable when it happens

Look, just because I don't believe in an end-of-month quota for police officers doesn't mean I like driving stretches where squad cars seem to increase. It's a very uneasy feeling for most drivers, and I doubt anyone is comfortable with this even when they're doing nothing illegal.

Yes, there are those few cops who give all officers a bad name. And yes, those particular cops might be gunning to give you a hard time and a ticket. But by and large, most officers aren't like that.

They have to do their job to make sure we're not doing anything that can put ourselves and others in greater danger. And if there are any departments out there that still do try to force their officers to meet a quota, then shame on them.

Evgen_Prozhyrko GettyImages
Evgen_Prozhyrko GettyImages

Quotas should not exist. Period.

The practice of an end-of-month quota is frowned upon in many places, including here in New Jersey. In fact, the practice of quotas is downright illegal in some places, which is the way it should be all over the country.

With that said, there are certain times when police cars do seem to have an increased presence while patrolling our highways. So I have to ask, where and when do you typically notice an increase? Feel free to share your observations in the comments.

And if you're one of those drivers in New Jersey who really slam hard on the brakes every time you see a police car parked on the median, then this message is for you (A message for those who slam the brakes when seeing a cop).

The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 weekend host Mike Brant. Any opinions expressed are his own.

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