Cops fight back over ticket quotas E-mail
Written by NYCPBA   

The New York City PBA, the nation’s largest police union with 24,000 members, ran a series of ads in several of the area’s newspapers, large and small, to educate the public about the pressure their members are experiencing to write a high number of traffic tickets.

PBA officials claim that cops are being forced to write as many tickets to motorists as possible. The department denies they are forcing officers to meet a certain “ticket quota” thresholds.

NYCPBA President Pat Lynch said his members are being pressured to write summonses and that pressure continues once the case gets to court.

“If the motorist is found ‘not guilty’ in traffic court,” Lynch says, “there are Internal Affairs supervisors right in the courtroom ready to dock the officer three vacation days. In dollar terms, that means $900.

“Police officers are furious over the mistreatment they are receiving in traffic court at the hands of NYPD management,” Lynch continued. “These men and women, who have dedicated their lives to keeping this city safe, are being severely penalized when they lose a traffic-court case.”

To protect their members, the PBA has undertaken an aggressive public education effort that includes radio commercials and print advertising so the citizens of New York will better understand the reason they are receiving so many traffic tickets.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg jumped into the long-running quota debate with both feet saying, “We do not have quotas. My recollection is quotas per se are illegal, so we certainly don’t have them.”

Both setting quotas and punishing officers who do not meet them are illegal under state law. The Police Department says it does not have quotas but rather “performance standards” to make sure cops don’t while away entire shifts doing nothing.

“Does the Police Department measure productivity?” Bloomberg asked rhetorically. “Of course they do. They’re supposed to do that. They have a responsibility to do that.”

So far the campaign appears to be very effective with several officers reporting their conversations with motorists were much more friendly once the ads began running.

But the bottom line for Pat Lynch and other PBA officials is that the pressure has to stop.

“Right now with these quotas, the cop loses, the public loses and the traffic-court justice system loses,” Lynch noted.

“The only winner may be the city’s treasury, which collects either from the cop or the motorist.”


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Comments (6)Add Comment
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written by John, July 25, 2012
So, if I read this article right, according to Pat Lynch, the police in New York are being told they have to falsify tickets and give them to motorists who don't break in traffic laws? That's the implication - otherwise why would the public and the justice system "lose"? The issue that should be looked at is one of catching people who are breaking the law. If I write 15 tickets a shift and all 15 of them were for legitimate traffic violations, how has that hurt the public. I worked traffic in Los Angeles for about 8 years and in all of those years I didn't give out a ticket to anyone who didn't violate the law. We would be asked questions if we didn't write any tickets during a shift, our job is to write tickets, pull in drunk drivers, and investigate TCs. It's hard to define what a quota is, but we were expected to write at least 8 tickets per shift (unless we were otherwise busy on calls etc). I don't like Bloomberg and don't agree with him on close to 95% of his busy body nonsense, but in this case I do agree that there should be performance standards. In a city the size of New York with the number of automobiles they have there, you can't tell me that a traffic officer can't keep busy doing their job. In Los Angeles, we were never short of motorists who deserved to get tickets. In the area that I patrolled we wouldn't give a speeding ticket (radar) unless they were 15 over the limit, and even with that, we had plenty of motorists to write up. Certainly more than our performance standards asked for.
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written by Billy Badass, July 25, 2012
No, you didn't read the article right at all. Go right some traffic tickets.
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written by Buford, August 17, 2012
"Performance Standards" are another BS term for administrators to replace 'quotas' with hoping to 'encourage' officers to write more cites. What happened to officer discretion?? You can put lipstick on a goat...but, in the end, it's still a goat.
Attorney
written by Matt McNicholas, September 18, 2012
I am an attorney in Los Angeles. Half of my practice involves representing police officers and fire fighters in retaliation, harassment, and discrimination suits against their department. I am currently representing 11 motor officers in a ticket-quota retaliation suit in Los Angeles. From what I read here, the issue appears to be bi-costal.
Lancaster Eagle Gazette reader
written by Lancaster Gale, August 06, 2013
The police department in Lancaster Ohio has what they call a PERFORMANCE STANDARD for traffic tickets. Those officers who dont write enough tickets can be disciplined, therefore the possibility of those officers writing tickets that they ordinarily wouldnt has increased. Dramatically. Fairfield County, Ohio. CHief randy Lutz or David Baily. Leagl or illegal. Moral or immoral?
activist
written by DarkKnowlege, February 28, 2014
YES!!! They now fine the police vacation days for writing invalid tickets... It is about time they punish cops by taking vacations instead of giving them!

Unions are fighting to keep officers unaccountable. This site uses propaganda saying they are fighting quota's when really it is responsibility they are fighting. Help insure cops remain accountable by realizing that this is needed to fight corruption... It is no longer only the person who gets punished by being dragged through court when police lack knowledge of the law or issue invalid tickets intentionally...

We must hold cops accountable... Quota's are already illegal so thats that... Is it really so hard to issue warnings any time a ticket is questionable?

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