Local attorney claims police must meet ticket quotas

MEMPHIS, TN -(WMC-TV) – By now, you have likely noticed the Memphis Police Department’s more aggressive approach to traffic enforcement.

Now, one man claims to have gotten complaints from inside the department. That they are breaking the law by operating under a quota system.

Memphis police acknowledge the obviously increased activity, citing countless complaints about reckless drivers, and overzealous speeders.

But on Facebook, Javier Bailey says he had a recent conversation with a group of cops upset by recent punishment.

He claims, “Their supervisors imposed quotas on them and when they did not meet the quotas, they were disciplined.”

The post generated plenty of discussion. Bailey did not grant WMC-TV’s request for an interview, but reiterated that there is a group of officers upset because they were disciplined for not writing enough tickets.


ADDED: This is nothing new and its not unique to Memphis PD. Many TN agencies have what are called “Performance Standards”, which is basically a quota by another name. The rationale for these performance standards is simple.

Officers work shifts of 8, 10 or 12 hours and the command staff at these various agencies will tell you they find it impossible to believe an officer can patrol a place like Memphis, Chattanooga, Knoxville or Nashville for that period of time and NOT see a traffic violation. So they require officers to maintain a certain number of “written contacts” per shift, per week, per month, etc… Now they will also tell you these “written contacts” could be anything, from traffic tickets, field interview contacts, warrant service attempts, etc… but officers will tell you they are infact ticket quotas. They are punished in various ways if they don’t write a certain number of tickets in a given time period.

The punishments usually take the form of other “unrelated” offenses or policy indiscretions. We have heard of officers losing vacation days, or having overtime detail requests rejected. Or supervisors will simply place said officer under a microscope for weeks on end. Scrutinizing everything they do and dinging them for every single little mess up, things that would otherwise go unnoticed. The purpose is to build a list of small offenses that allow them to take punitive actions against the officers.

This is common knowledge and all officers at these departments know this, so they take the path of least resistance and simply write tickets. But when call volumes are high, actual police work takes up the most of their shift. Towards the end they feel rushed to make the numbers, so they push the envelope and stop people for things other than traffic violations…


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