Tag Archives: Quotas

Tennessee Highway Patrol Under Fire After Troopers Expose Alleged DUI Quota System

A December 2014 email, uncovered by attorney Don Spurrell and exposed to the public by Johnson City Press, from Tennessee Highway Patrol Lt. Traci Barrett to her troopers, said, “If we have personnel that fall behind the district trooper average on DUI arrests, then I cannot allow us to remain on permanent shifts. As we all know, DUI arrests are extremely important, and no group of personnel should be expected to ’carry’ another group.” The email raised questions as to whether Tennessee Highway Patrol is using a proportional or percentage-based quota system to increase its Driving Under the Influence arrest statistics.

However, following these allegations, six current and former troopers with THP have come forward to Johnson City Press to blow the whistle on what they say is indeed a quota system. Though most of the whistleblowers have chosen to speak with reporter Becky Campbell under conditions of anonymity due to fears of retaliation by higher-ups at THP, retired ex-trooper Mike Holt said openly, “When I was working, if you didn’t have a certain number of DUI arrests, you were punished… I know what a DUI looks like. I was leading my troop with moving violations … it wasn’t enough. I worked straight evenings for four months because I didn’t have enough DUI arrests. I’m just not going to arrest somebody and take them to jail if they’re not drunk.” Holt also complained that THP administrators have been pushing for officers to seek revenue raising opportunities in cities rather than patrolling the state’s highways according to the THP’s traditional mandate.

“There is a quota. There sure is. They call it goals and they use percentages and not a set number [as that goal],” said an anonymous officer to Johnson City Press. That officer noted that, though he is under fire by THP for not arresting enough citizens for DUIs, his conviction rate is high. He claimed that officers who arrest fewer citizens have higher conviction rates, whereas officers who meet THP quotas have lower conviction rates, suggesting that some of the quota-motivated pickups constitute wrongful arrests. However, the claim about conviction rates could not be confirmed as the software system used by county clerk offices lacks a search function.

An anonymous trooper still employed at THP said, “When you arrest somebody for DUI, you’ve just cost them $10,000. I’m not arresting somebody and ruining them just for a number.”

THP Col. Tracy Trott denied the existence of a quota system in an interview with Johnson City Press and said, “We don’t have a quota on any type of arrests, DUI, speeding or otherwise.”



Lawsuit: Six CA Cops Punished for Speaking Out About, Defying Ticket, Arrest Quotas

Sections 41600-41603 of the California Vehicle Codes make it illegal for “any state or local agency employing peace officers” to require police to meet arrest or ticket quotas. However, according to The Los Angeles Times, the LA-area Whittier Police Department allegedly requires its officers to meet both ticket and arrest quotas, and a group of six police officers working for the department have spoken out about and refused to participate in the scheme. A lawsuit filed last Tuesday in Los Angeles County Superior Court on behalf of the six officers against the City of Wittier claims that, after they complained about the quotas to Internal Affairs and higher-ups at the department, they were subjected to a wide range of punishments in retaliation, including increased scrutiny by supervisors, transfers, suspensions, disparaging comments, and threats of termination.

The above-embedded video footage by KTLA-5 contains evidence of a 2012 memo that was sent by a Wittier Police Department captain to one of the whistle-blowing officers which accused the cop of “deficient productivity” for failing to meet the average arrest and ticket numbers achieved by other officers at the department. California Vehicle Codes section 41600 says, “For purposes of this chapter, ‘arrest quota’ means any requirement regarding the number of arrests made, or the number of citations issued, by a peace officer, or parking enforcement employee, or the proportion of those arrests made and citations issued by a peace officer or parking enforcement employee, relative to the arrests made and citations issued by another peace officer or parking enforcement employee, or group of officers or employees.”

The lawsuit lists Corporal Joseph Rivera and officers Mike Rosario, Nancy Ogle, Steve Johnson, Jim Azpilicueta, and Anthony Gonzalez as the six cops who spoke out about the quotas. The officers described their motivation for blowing the whistle by saying that they “spoke out not only for the rights of themselves and their fellow officers, but also for the rights of the public by speaking out against what they believed to be an unlawful citation and arrest quota.”

The Los Angeles Times notes that officers Johnson and Azpilicueta were placed under supervision after they came forward and that Johnson was subsequently investigated by Internal Affairs and suspended.

The lawsuit is seeking unspecified damages as the affected officers say that the retaliation has harmed their careers, health, and well-being. City Manager Jim Collier said, “The lawsuit is unfortunate and the city will determine the best course of action once an analysis of the lawsuit is completed.”

The six whistle-blowing officers claim that the quota system is still being used by the Whittier Police Department.

Slowdown Sanctions: NYPD Orders Cops to Meet Arrest, Summons Quotas Or Lose Vacation Time, Sick Leave

Following a tragic incident in which two New York Police Department officers, Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu, were brutally murdered, police across the city have been protesting by refusing to issue summonses and make arrests for low-level crimes that do not imminently threaten the public. However, the shift in focus from small-scale, discretionary infractions to hard crimes with victims has been praised by some in the media who believe that the police protest, called a slowdown, should be transformed into permanent policy. Rolling Stone writer Matt Taibbi penned, “This police protest, unwittingly, is leading to the exposure of the very policies that anger so many different constituencies about modern law-enforcement tactics,” noting the fact that NYPD’s “broken windows” style of policing, in which the enforcement of smaller, discretionary crimes in “hot spot” neighborhoods is given top priority, has been pinpointed by community activists as a source of tension between police and residents in targeted neighborhoods. According to NYPD police officers interviewed by The Daily Beast, many New York cops enjoy the slowdown and prefer focusing on what they call “good arrests” that protect the public, rather than discretionary offenses aimed at raising revenue for the city.

However, city officials and NYPD administrators are fighting back, fearing lost revenue, as, between December 29, 2014 and January 4, 2015, the number of summonses issued have dropped by 92% and arrest totals have plunged by 56%. According to the New York Post, NYPD police precincts are being ordered to submit activity sheets proving that officers are meeting arrest and summons quotas, with those who fail to meet numbers facing punishments. “Police officers around the city are now threatened with transfers, no vacation time and sick time unless they write summonses… This is the same practice that caused officers to be labeled racist and abusers of power,” said a police union rep, criticizing NYPD’s use of arrest and summons quotas.

A police officer interviewed by the New York Post said that cops at his precinct were dispatched to a driver checkpoint last Thursday and told that they would not be allowed to take a lunch break or return from the checkpoint until at least two summonses were issued. Said the officer, “And the majority of [new] summonses written aren’t protecting the public in any way… But now they’re realizing how much revenue the city is losing, and they’re enforcing their will upon us… To have all the manpower utilized for the sole purpose of writing summonses is a very dangerous way to utilize manpower. This is not what we’re out here for.” An announcement posted at the officer’s precinct indicated that, until officers catch up on revenue-generating activities, no additional vacation days would be approved and no sick days would be authorized without a doctor’s note.

NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton admitted at a press conference that, despite the drop in discretionary arrests and summonses, crime overall has been on the decline during the slowdown.