There is a significant tension, and profound distrust, between our police officers and our citizens. This is not just a district-specific, or statewide problem, but a national one.

To me, the tension is a result of three main factors: (1) Police enforce law by punishment— and punishment alone; but a relationship founded on punishment incites fear and resentment. (2) The act of punishing is psychologically detrimental to the police officer— leading to desensitization, fear, and sometimes to an overzealous approach to enforcement. (3) This growing tension marginalizes police, further worsening relations between police and citizens.

Merit Ticketing would support California’s people by empowering law enforcement with the means to recognize citizens who positively contribute to society, which would improve relations between peace officers and citizens, as well as alleviate the officer from the encumbrance of engaging solely in negative situations.

The basic structure of Merit Ticketing is as follows:

  1. A nominal fee would be added to all tickets on the Uniform Penalty and Bail schedule; the fees collected would be deposited into the Merit Ticketing Fund.

  2. Police issue Merit-Tickets (Maximum of 30 per month, which do not accrue) of monetary value (Minimum wage in state of issue) to citizens who do good acts in their community witnessed by local law enforcement.

  3. Merit Ticketing would be a tool—not an extra responsibility or burden—an optional action that police can make to interact with the public to promote prosperity in their communities.                           

What is essential to the role of peacekeeper is that he/she promotes, and celebrates, peace. In order to celebrate and cultivate peace, meritorious action, not just reprehensible action, should be acknowledged. Merit Ticketing would unite citizens by promoting and acknowledging the deeds of the citizen that improve society as a whole, uniting by free agency and societal strengths, not their aberrations.

Peace is more than the absence of reprehensible action—it is the celebration of mankind’s goodness, and the power of human compassion.