To the Editor:

Auburn Police Chief Giannotta's edict directing police officers to issue at least one traffic ticket per shift disrespects the constitutional rights of motorists and may encourage officers to stop and question drivers when there is little or no justification to do so.

This directive may also provide officers an incentive to falsify offenses in order to satisfy their quota. A bogus traffic ticket, while not the greatest injustice, is inherently unfair. It's potentially an abuse of due process and equal protection under the law - two fundamental constitutional principles.

Police officers must have the discretion to decide if a motorist merits a ticket. They mustn't conjure offenses out of thin air. Fair and equal enforcement of the law trumps the need to raise revenue for the city's general fund. Chief Giannotta and City Manager Palesh should know better.

Barrie Gewanter
Director, Central New York Chapter of the New York Civil Liberties Union