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Video: Ala. Officer Allegedly Fired Over Quotas

July 26, 2013  | 

VIDEO: Ala. Officer Allegedly Fired Over Quotas

A former Auburn (Ala.) Police officer tells Reason Magazine he was fired for speaking out about the agency's enforcement quotas that required officers to make 100 contacts per month.

Justin Hanners told the publication that former Chief Tommy Dawson, who arrived in 2010, told the Opelika-Auburn News he had "to have two tickets a day and two warnings a day on average and if we didn't have it, we wouldn't get promoted, we would get bad evaluations and if we continued to not do it, we would get written up and ultimately fired."

Hanners recorded several briefings, including one where Sgt. Trey Neal tells officers, "Do not be the one that does not get 100."

Hanners told Reason he followed the grievance process and was eventually fired for violating a gag order. He hopes to get his job back.

Comments (11)

Displaying 1 - 11 of 11

Troop @ 7/26/2013 9:03 PM

Don't think for a minute quotas are a myth.

Beentherebefore @ 7/27/2013 12:14 AM

New York State one of the first to outlaw "quota" system for traffic ticketing. Within a week, my old scotch swilling bullying so called "Commissioner" had instituted a department "training" policy of at least two tickets per shift per officer. Permanent assignment to the dump patrol and midnights forever awaited those who lacked "training" and skills of the same sort. A state investigator suggested we try "courteous intimidation" as a technique practiced by a department in Florida. Stopping motorists for every single violation we see, all the time. Then giving them a warning slip with the telephone number of the Commissioner to "compliment" him for our "good" service. After several days of non stop screaming from irate citizens on the phone, the "training" requirement was quietly sent away. He still stuck me on midnights, 'cause I lacked "training skills." Guess I just didn't fit with alcoholic bullying creeps being in a position of having police powers. He got nailed one midnight shift trying to outrun the State Police in a department unmarked car with a BAC level of .32! (Staties did 3 tests!!) Yeup.......should have been dead. But after years of scotch swilling, you sort of get tolerance for it. Yes, someone working the midnight shift tipped the SP. Never did know who did that..........Quotas, huh....I think DUI counted.

Ima Leprechaun @ 7/29/2013 3:46 AM

Every Police Agency has quota's its just part of the job. Especially when it comes to cases closed for plain clothes officers and detectives or traffic tickets/citizen contact for patrol officers. Quota's exist but we don't get anything for meeting a quota except no harassment from above. Every agency always has a quota but they have many names to call it to hide the true purpose. Such as "Directed Patrol", "Special Investigations", "Increased Patrol" and "Target Saturation", these are fancy words for quota systems that hide their true nature. But I would rather have the toaster.

Capt. Crunch @ 7/29/2013 3:39 PM

Screw the quotas, just let the officer do his/her job.

Tom Ret @ 7/29/2013 4:20 PM

Some supervisors like the numbers game but many of us never paid any attention to quotas as it was considered unethical. That does not give one license to become a sloth and do nothing which is also unethical. Playing the numbers game is a recipe for poor police service and will quickly turn the public against the police and justifiably so.

Dan Algeri @ 7/30/2013 5:57 AM

How do you draw the line between a quota and a performance standard. Crunch says "let officers do their job" but what if you have several officers who do ZERO self initiated enforcement. With no standards how do you stop guys from going retired on duty? I believe in officer discretion but have officers that won't write a ticket no matter what and brag about having the same ticket book for three years. Causes animosity with the hard working younger officers. How about this, do your job! and that includes traffic enforcement.

Administrator @ 7/30/2013 6:06 AM

This may not be a popular statement, but call it what you like, a quota, minimum requirements, performance expectations etc. A police department has every right to expect an officer to earn their pay. Whether it is through traffic enforcement, citizen contacts or arrests, why does any officer think they can dictate what they will do with their 8-10 or 12 hour shift? If you worked in a private sector, try telling your crew chief you aren't going to make 100 widgets a day. Two tickets a day? My god, you can do that in the first five minutes of your shift. The only officers that hide behind "it's a quota so I aint doing it" is a slug who has no right stealing tax payers money. Grow up and be professionals!

Administrator @ 7/30/2013 6:08 AM

@Capt. Crunch, how do you know if the officer is doing their job if you have no way to quantify it? Do you hire a contractor to do your roof and let him dictate how and when he is gong to complete your project with out any expectations?

Tom Ret @ 7/30/2013 7:17 AM

The public, whom the cops are suppose to serve, don't like to be thought of or treated as so many widgets. If you are approaching law enforcement from strictly a numbers game, don't be surprised when you ask the public for help, especially with something important such as a murder or robbery investigation, and they tell you to piss off because in the back of their mind is one of those widget encounters. Supervisors know when the troops are doing their job because they themselves are out there getting involved as opposed to spending all their time sitting in the office. Some officers only want to write tickets because it is easy but don't do thorough investigations or write crappy reports etc. The officer I wanted to supervise was one with good common sense, professional in appearance and demeanor, wrote and spoke intelligently with complete and thorough reports, treated others as he wanted to be treated and enforced the law in a conscientious way. Arrests and citations are to be based solely on the offense observed and detected and not on some arbitrary level of performance. Supervisors who base an evaluation solely on how many tickets were written in my view don't understand why the public has such a low opinion of the police.

Capt. Crunch @ 7/30/2013 10:05 AM

@Administrator, very simple the first thing you need is trust. As a supervisor at start of shift brief the troops on the issues that have to be taken care of at each particular beat and get away from the desk and get on the road with them and supervise by giving them (training and guidance) what they need to get the job done,discipline them if needed and give them backup for both civil and criminal matters. You can not expect a police officer to pull a rabbit out of a hat when there is no rabbit in the hat. Also most important have a good attitude. All the above should increase productivity in the department. No need for quotas.

Doug M. @ 7/30/2013 4:43 PM

Raw numbers don't tell the tale, but it's a great way for lazy supervisors to avoid being leaders and for lazier bosses to chat up what the agency does instead of what it gets done. There are a lot of good activities cops do that are hard to quantify, and the competent ethical supervisors will known and reflect that. The bums will stick with stats because that's all they can handle.

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