Police Departments around the country are scrambling to offset revenue shortfalls caused by autonomous vehicles driving and parking legally. “If these vehicles continue to drive the speed limit and can park themselves in a way that avoids ticketing, then departments country-wide are going to have to find alternative revenue sources,” stated Paul Castille of The Center for Creative Law Enforcement Revenue Generation, a Washington, DC based think-tank. According to a recent survey of some 347 local law enforcement departments, the average revenue generated from DUIs, fines and other confiscations amounted to nearly 30 percent of the overall budgets. “I’m out there every day ticketing the public. They’re late to work – ticket, they drank too much red bull and listen to EDM while they drive – ticket, they are sexting their mom and running red lights – ticket, ticket, ticket,” said Marge Strafford of the Wayne County, MI Police Department.
So, what ideas have departments come up with so far to make up for lost revenue? Just ask Ray Monte of Threewives, Utah. “We’ve put out a tip bucket. So far the department has made five dollars, a tangled hair weave and 3 used condoms. I think the cash was supposed to be a bribe, but I took it and still gave that guy a ticket, so it’s technically legal.” Apparently, the department thinks that citizens will fork over an extra dollar or two to support the local police department in the same way that the whites-only restaurant and mayonnaise dispensary, Panera Bread, provides a line for tip when you pay and then makes you pick up your order and bus your own dishes.
Other departments have come up with more creative proposals, for instance in Denver Colorado, they’ve come up with a new autonomous vehicle yearly tax that is supposed to equal the average amount a person would normally pay in fines. “The tax isn’t ideal. The city gets the revenue it needs, but citizens are no longer burdened with the forced admittance of guilt and the public humiliation that came with speeding tickets. It took a while to design the ticket so that the person either paid the fine and admitted guilt or they took time off work to fight the ticket and they might get off, but they’d still have to pay court fees. It really was win-win for the city,” said Joyce Mothers of the Brown County, MS police department.
DUIs were another large source of revenue for departments. “It really brought fulfillment to my life to be able to work at a job where I ruined other people’s good time. I always thought it was unfair that I had to work all night while everyone else was out partying with their friends every weekend,” said patrolman Dwight Brokeback. The combination of car services like Uber, combined with autonomous vehicles, is projected to eventually drive revenue from DUI stops to zero. “We used to make a big deal of it. We’d announce on the radio where we’d be and then people would line up from far away just to get to our check point. Now it’s no fun, the Uber drivers are mostly sober and the autonomous cars don’t even talk to us,” complained Sgt. Bill Slaughter of the Ft Wayne IN sheriffs department.