There should be commenced a contest among law enforcement agencies such as police departments, sheriffs, high patrols, etc. on which agency can give citations for the most trivial infractions. A central state agency should be created to monitor the contest and award prizes which prizes would be substantial enough that the various law enforcement agencies would participate. The prizes probably should be monetary as well as the granting of public accolades to those individual officers who have issued the citations for the most trivial offenses and to the local agency whose officers have issued the most. An issue that should be decided in advance is whether both arrests and citations should be considered. It would seem appropriate that an arrest would be worth two or three citations considering the inconvenience to the officer making the arrest. It takes a substantially longer time to arrest someone, transport them to the local jail, and fill out the necessary reports than it does to simply write a citation. An officer could be writing numerous citations during the time it takes to arrest one person. Possibly we should count an arrest as ten citations--that might be the solution.
Traffic citations, it is expected, would be the constant source of trivial violations. Very few citizens actually drive the speed limit. A speeding ticket for one mile over can be easily issued. Fix-it tickets for equipment failure probably should not be counted, unless, of course, the code specifically determines that the failure is a criminal violation such as head lights, rear lights, license plate lights, and turn signals. The number of traffic violations that exist is practically infinite. Sitting at an intersection with traffic control lights would bring a constant flow of citations such as entering the intersection on yellow or failure to use the turn signal. One almost gets giddy just thinking of the number of possible citations.
There would be the usual grumbling though. Those officers not having traffic duty will complain. The drug task forces will be at a disadvantage. They should not despond quite yet though. Arrests could be made for one marijuana seed found during a trash rip. If a search warrant is executed and numerous articles used in the ingestion of controlled substances are found in the residence, separate charges could be filed on each item. For instance, if three marijuana pipes, two meth pipes, and four empty folds were found, nine separate simple misdemeanors could be charged along with the felonies. Although in this particular contest, felonies do not count as they are not trivial. And, further discussion could be had prior to developing the rules for the contest to determine the weight of the particular citations or complaints being filed. The goal would be to have as many law enforcement agencies and individual officers as possible participate in this contest. Making it fair to all would encourage participation.
This contest of trivial pursuit would have the added benefit of helping the state treasury: it would be bountiful. The amount of money flowing into the local clerk's offices would be multiplied. The legislature would be ecstatic; it might even cause Governor Branstad to renew his effort to decrease property taxes which would be very helpful to us operating small businesses in Iowa. The contest would encapsulate the very goal of every good Republican to "get tough on crime". Only the morally deficient would complain, and they don't count. We need volunteers to organize and present a proposal to the Department of Public Safety and if legislation should be required, a spokesman could be named to present the plan to the appropriate legislative committees.