California Cops Sue Over Ticket Quotas

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Judge concludes that the evidence tends to show Whittier, California police used illegal ticket quotas.

Six police officers in Whittier, California have taken a stand against ticket quotas, and now they will have a chance to tell their story to a jury. Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Howard L. Halm last month found sufficient evidence to believe the officers have a valid claim.  

Whittier, like many other cities around the country, used a technique called “shift averaging” to get around a state law banning explicit ticket quotas. Supervisors would tally up the number of tickets handed out by teams of officers on various shifts and punish anyone who failed to meet or exceed that average.

The officers who filed the lawsuit complained to their supervisors or to the internal affairs department that they believed this procedure was a thinly disguised quota. This, the officers argue, was when retaliation began. Black marks began appearing on the officers’ records. They were ordered to attend counseling sessions, transferred to less desirable duties and placed on performance improvement plans.

“Plaintiffs 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 as well as retaliation, harassment and intimidation for refusing to comply with or reporting such an illegal quota,” attorney Matthew McNicholas wrote.

The suit alleges the police department’s actions against the whistleblowers violates the protections offered under California labor laws, and the court found that the allegations were well founded.

“Plaintiff has shown evidence of enough facts that collectively give rise to a context that a jury could find amounts to a pattern or practice that constitutes an adverse employment action,” Judge Helm ruled. “He shows evidence that he was subjected to negative permanent annual evaluatopns, multiple negative trimester evaluations, an actual threat of demotion, a negative reference for a subsequent job, ordered documented counseling of the supervisory review, denying plaintiff sick time, and the failure to investigate the complaints regarding the quota. This final ‘act’ of refusing to investigate plaintiff’s complaints would allow future negative evaluations and reviews to occur.”

The judge found the last point was key, as police supervisors investigating the complaint would have found that it was unlawful to require officers to meet ticket issuance averages, and thus this could not have been used against the whistleblowers in their evaluations.

“Contrary to defendant’s assertions, the laws against police departments establishing quotas and ciations and basing performance evaluations and employment decisions on employees’ abilities to meet these quotas do affect the public at large,” Judge Halm wrote. “Should a peace officer, under the pressures of having to meet a quota in order to avoid negative evaluations and possibly demotions, not be able to exercise individual judgment as to each ticket or arrest given out, the public may be harmed in receiving tickets or arrest where they are not independently justified.”

A copy of the ruling is available in a 600k PDF file at the source link below.

Source:   Rivera v. Whittier (Los Angeles, California Superior Court, 7/6/2017)

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3 thoughts on “California Cops Sue Over Ticket Quotas

  1. It’s basically “policing for profit”, the gathering of the mammon. Until the people put an end to these blood-sucking parasites, they will continue to ticket and incarcerate people for victim-less “crimes”.

  2. Indiana Considers Limits on Policing for Profit:

    Under civil forfeiture, law enforcement can seize property, including cash, from innocent people on the mere suspicion that it was involved in a crime. In many jurisdictions, the agencies conducting the seizures get to keep the proceeds of forfeiture, even if the original owner is never charged with, much less convicted of, a crime.

    The Indiana Constitution is supposed to limit the considerable incentives for abuse by directing the forfeiture proceeds to the Common School fund. But as it turns out, state and local law enforcement agencies are pirating the funds for their own expenses, leaving little left for schools. Now, state lawmakers on the Courts and Judiciary summer study committee are considering whether this law enforcement workaround is blatantly unconstitutional.

    Local law enforcement officials are claiming that forfeiture proceeds provide essential resources for agencies. In one example, Delaware County Prosecutor Jeff Arnold told the committee:

    Civil asset forfeiture allowed me to buy laptops for all my deputies so they were able to bring them into court. I know that sounds rather primitive, but that’s where we were able to find the money.
    http://ij.org/indiana-considers-limits-policing-profit/

  3. Oh, wait. That was ruled ‘illegal’, remember?

    From the mouth of a San Diego police officer;

    “We’re required to make a law enforcement contact every 15 minutes, 90% should of which should result in a citation being issued”.

    A Highway Patrolman once told me I was ‘paranoid’ because I told him that when a cop gets behind me, I just pull over.

    ‘Paranoid’?

    Me thinks ‘smart’…..
    .

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