We often think traffic police torture us with long and complicated procedures as a way to elicit bribes.
But an officer I know told me the cumbersome process of issuing a traffic ticket is not the cops' fault.
"That's so unfair to us," the officer said, speaking of the way people assume that police are always fishing for bribes.
The idea behind the fines is simple: break the law, you're punished with a fine that helps you remember not to run the red light next time.
But paying the fines is not simple at all.
First you have to visit the local traffic police department in the district where the violation occurred. There, you turn in your ticket and are given another slip that you're told to take to your municipal or provincial treasury office. Depending on where you live, this could be a five-minute drive, or even hours. You turn in your fee slip at the treasury and wait for your turn to pay. After paying, you drive back to the police office and turn in the receipt indicating that you've paid the fine.
This process takes at least a couple of hours and could even cost you your whole morning. Some residents who are ticketed hundreds of kilometers from where they live may have to make a one- or two-day trip out of it. Many people even hire someone to wait in line for them if the offices are crowded. This just adds to the cost of the endeavor.
As he explained this process to me, my police officer friend was as frustrated as anyone.
"I've discussed this so many times with the finance offices, and we've asked that we be allowed to have the residents pay at out office," he said. "That way we could escort the money to the treasury office to save residents time and effort... but they haven't done anything about it."
Until we cut down this troublesome procedure, we'll never cut out the bribing of local traffic police.