Archive for April 15th, 2005

“Yes, We Have No Quotas”

Friday, April 15th, 2005

A few days ago I wrote a post entitled "Do Police Have Quotas?". The very next day, the following story appeared in the Boulder (Colorado) Daily Camera:

People arrested by Boulder police on suspicion of drinking and driving are being told in county court that the police department may have a "quota" for such arrests. The disclosure by prosecutors ' required by law when the government has evidence that can help the defense ' evolved last week after a Boulder police officer testified about his quota during a drunken-driving trial….

Boulder police Chief Mark Beckner denied the department's use of quotas, but said it does have "performance standards" officers are expected to meet. Those may include striving for numbers of arrests in areas the community demands, he said….

At least one grant the department receives relies on generating a certain amount of DUI arrests. The Law Enforcement Assistance Fund ' a state grant funded by drunken driving conviction fees ' has doled out more than half a million dollars to Boulder police since 1984 to help in DUI enforcement….The fund's application lists increasing DUI arrest rates as a goal to be met by departments awarded money.

"An agency could have their contact terminated if it doesn't reach its goals, but we look at all the goals," said Mairi Nelson, spokeswoman for the Colorado Department of Transportation, which allocates the grant money. Those goals also include performing a number of DUI saturation patrols and checkpoints and participation in statewide campaigns that crack down on the crime, Nelson said.

Boulder police spokeswoman Julie Brooks said the department fell short of its grant goal of 1,000 arrests set for 2004 by fewer than 100 arrests. Boulder defense attorney Mark Langston said the mention of quotas makes any lawyer pause and question why their client was arrested…. Chief Beckner said defense attorneys will "try to use anything to their advantage", and he defended the department's use of officer standards.

Those tricky defense attorneys and their technicalities! (Thanks to Jeanne Pruettt, President of Responsibility in DUI Laws, Inc.)

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