I'm ****, and I'd be happy to answer your questions today. I'm sorry to hear that this happened.
The fact that you got a ticket means you DO need to go to court, as you suspected. When police issue tickets, they go into the system on a very long list of offenses that people can pay or dispute. The district attorney doesn't even see any of those tickets, in most cases, until the person appears in court to try to negotiate a lower fine or request to dispute the ticket. People who don't show up risk having a bench warrant issued for their arrest, and could be charged with failure to appear. You may want to contact that officer's superior and let them know he's issuing tickets and telling people not to show up in court, which is wrong.
As far as the ticket itself, it may just not be in the system yet. It can take a couple of weeks for them to get processed. Try calling the clerk of the local misdemeanor court in your area to see if she can find anything under your name (in case the number got entered incorrectly). Once the ticket is in the system, you should be able to appear at any time on or before 2/11 to take care of it. It's possible that you'll be able to talk to the DA into dismissing the ticket, or you can plead not guilty and request a trial. But you'll need to go to that initial court date first to avoid more charges (unless you can just pay the fine without appearing, but then you're admitting guilt).
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