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I TEAM: Cleveland police writing tickets for a prize?

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CLEVELAND - The FOX 8 I TEAM has found some Cleveland Police officers were offered a chance at a gift for writing more tickets. And this comes as the number of tickets has dropped dramatically.

The I TEAM obtained a copy of a flyer that multiple sources told us had been hanging in mid-December in the Cleveland Police 5thdistrict headquarters. The flyer shows a promise for officers, a “Christmas Curfew Bonanza.”  Over a 3-day period, the officer writing the most tickets for minors' curfew or  failing to yield to an emergency vehicle could  win a multi-tool (a handheld tool that can be used many different ways).

The prize was to be awarded at a police Christmas party.

Some officers believe a police supervisor posted the ticket contest to boost the numbers.

Months ago the FOX 8 I TEAM revealed a trend, a steep drop in the number of tickets and criminal cases. And now for the year, we’ve found in Cleveland, traffic tickets down 24%, misdemeanor cases down 28% and felony cases down 11%.

The Cleveland chief’s office says it does not condone any ticket incentive, and the police union doesn’t like it either.

The union president does say, however, officers have become a lot less aggressive as a result of protests against police locally and nationally. Steve Loomis said, “Do you want to be the person who has to make contact with the public that files a complaint? Citizens are emboldened now to file complaints.”

At the same time, Loomis added, “If you have a cash incentive, or any incentive to write tickets, then that’s inappropriate.”

A Cleveland Police Commander is investigating that flyer with the ticket contest.