DUI Quotas

Posted by Lawrence Taylor on October 21st, 2009

DUI attorneys have long contended that many police agencies impose quotas on their officers for drunk driving arrests.  And police agencies have long contended that this is simply not true.  Imposing quotas, of course, has a coercive effect on officers to make arrests — even if those arrested are innocent.

Consider the following article from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:

An Atlanta police officer reprimanded for not making an arrest for a week in one of the city’s most crime-ridden areas is accusing the Police Department of using a quota system to beef up arrest numbers, a charge department officials deny.

Officer Andrew Cerul filed a grievance with the local chapter of the International Brotherhood of Police Officers in late March after he was transferred from day watch to evening watch. Cerul contends the transfer was made because he did not make an arrest during the week of March 13-19

Cerul, who did make traffic stops, was one of six Zone 3 officers written up for not making an arrest that week. Three of the officers were later excused because they were either in training all week or working the desk. Cerul and the others officially received “verbal counseling.”…

(Police documents) indicate a quota system exists in the Atlanta Police Department, according to Jon Calloway, Cerul’s union representative

“They [police officials] didn’t deny that the quota system existed,” Calloway said. “They said it was reasonable to expect an officer to make an arrest. I would hate to be the person on the last day who gets stopped by an officer needing an arrest.

Calloway said residents have long suspected police of using quotas. “But this is the first time we have ever had a smoking gun. A document that we can touch and feel and say that it is going on,” he said. Police officials say there is no quota system….

So is the Atlanta Police Department that different from other police agencies across the country?  The article continues:

Other big-city police departments have come under fire for allegedly imposing quotas.

In Baltimore last month, 27 officers with lower arrest rates were transferred to different departments within the Baltimore Police Department for failing to meet “minimum performance standards.” The action outraged City Council members and prompted Maryland legislators to consider a bill that would prevent a police officer from being punished, transferred or demoted for failing to meet a quota

In January, police officers in West Hartford, Conn., railed against a new department policy requiring the traffic division to step up enforcement.

Officers in Falls Church, Va., were required to write an average of three tickets, or make three arrests, during every 12-hour shift. By the end of the year, officers faced three months of probation if they failed to have a combined total of 400 tickets or arrests….

Why do police departments have drunk driving quotas?  See my past posts, DUI: Government’s Cash CowHow to Make a Million in the DUI Business and   DUI Roadblocks for Fun and Profit.

(Thanks to William C. Head, Esq., of Atlanta.)

  • ruReadyMyFriend

    Boise, Idaho Police Department holds contest to see who can arrest the most drunk drivers
    When it comes to busting drunk drivers, Boise has some of the most alert cops around. On a regular Friday or Saturday night, as many as 70 Boise Police Department officers might be on the streets. In addition to that, five officers who specialize in recognizing drunk drivers are prowling the roadways. Just last year, BPD officers arrested 2,247 drivers for driving under the influence.
    Now they have a new incentive. Last month, a BPD sergeant sent out a memo to all officers announcing a new contest, with prizes, for the most DUI arrests.
    The memo, which was provided to Boise Weekly after a public records request, is straightforward: At the end of every month, the individual officer with the highest combined total of DUI arrests and DUI assists will be given a prize. The prizes range from movie tickets to gift certificates from local restaurants.
    Although the goal is noteworthy, making a contest of arresting people has raised the eyebrows of Alan Trimming, who runs Ada County’s Public Defender’s Office. It’s Trimming’s department that ends up defending many drunk-driving arrests.
    “A contest has certain cause for concern,” Trimming said. “I would hope, that in a desire to win the contest, that there would be no corner-cutting of any kind.”

  • David W

    My, My, MY, Now what “sane” mind would ever concieve that arrests trump right or wrong?

    Maryland? Maybe ask Mayor Calvo. His dogs got blown away. Lucky for him he wasn’t holding a gun when these “masked men” came into his house. He would be dead as well. No authorized warrant or nothing that authorized what happened. He got legislation passed that says tactics like this have to be accounted for and explained. What was the response? This is interfering with someones ability to do their job(invade one’s property without legal cause, and after “their” investigation, found that the officers did nothing wrong and were justified in their actions. Well people, they didn’t even bother to check who’s house they were storming into. Nor did they inform the local police of the jurisdiction of this impending action.. Welcome to the new system you nuts that support this back and praise.

    Yeah sure, we have problems but when our homes are invaded based on hearsay,,which they are, its time for you do gooders to wake up and realize you have destroyed the foundation of what the United States Of America was founded upon and is suppose to follow per the “orders” of our founding fathers….Comments? Make sure you check the Bill of Rights and US Constitution before responding.

  • Justin

    That article on Boise is pretty true. Cops hand out DUI’s here like candy.

    Lastly, if this DUI system for quotas is real (which it probably is as it is with tickets) — doesn’t that just mean we should have less cops — it seems if you can’t meet the quota you have either too many law abiding citizens — or too many cops. I can only hope it is the first.

  • David W

    Excellent point Justin.

    But remember, sane thought has become a thing of the past. We have lost thousands of jobs in the private sector. Not true of the “Gov’t ” sector. Who get their money from ” where”? Like the unanswered question about healthcare at a town hall meeting. “Are you legislators going to be under the same plan as you are proposing for us?”

    Umm,,still no answer. Which means? Three guess’es and the first two don’t count