Officer writing a ticket
A group of officers of the Los Angeles Police Department are suing the LAPD for allegedly enforcing ticket quotas. Photo Credit: Jeff Dean/Wikimedia Commons

Ten officers of the Los Angeles Police Department are suing the city, claiming the LAPD has traffic ticket quotas that officers have to meet. Ticket quotas are illegal in many states and most police departments insist that no such thing exists, but there are many reports that they do.

Failure to ticket enough motorists punished by LAPD

Ticket quotas among police officers are said to not exist by most police departments, and many states outlaw the practice because it could conceivably force police to write bogus traffic tickets. The idea that the police could be handing out tickets as a fundraiser for the state is not a comforting one for citizens. However, some Los Angeles Police Department officers, according to the Los Angeles Times, are suing the city for allegedly forcing them to meet such quotas. The 10 officers filed a suit against the city in Los Angeles Superior Court, and all of them served in the West Traffic Division. They contend that the LAPD would deny them overtime pay and benefits, and they were given negative performance reviews when they refused to fulfill traffic quotas.

Second suit against LAPD from officers

This is the second suit against the Los Angeles Police Department for this practice. A suit against the LAPD was settled this April that was brought by two LAPD officers in 2009, for allegedly requiring quotas. Both officers were veteran traffic police and motorcycle-riding officers, assigned to West Traffic as well. Officers Howard Chan and David Benioff received negative performance reviews that featured the number of tickets they handed out daily, and when Captain Nancy Lauer was put in charge of the traffic division, officers were told to write at least 18 tickets per day. Officers would be “ranked” against others based on the number of tickets they wrote. The officers claimed they were directed to patrol designated spots called “orchards,” where they would easily find people to ticket. The city’s attorney said that there were no quotas, but merely “goals.” The jury didn’t buy it and handed Chan and Benioff a $2 million settlement.

Whispers of quotas

According to the Village Voice, Officer Adil Polanco of the New York Police Department came forward as a whistle-blower in 2010 and told the Village Voice about NYPD forcing quotas of tickets, arrests, physical searches known as “stop-and-frisks,” and illegally writing summons without having seen the alleged misconduct. Polanco initially complained in 2009 to the Internal Affairs department of the NYPD, only to be punished for insubordination. He is currently suing the NYPD. A parking enforcement officer in Toronto, Canada, recently told the Toronto Sun that there are ticket quotas to meet. According to the Clark County News and Tribune of Clark County, the Indiana State Police rescinded a policy mandating officers make at least two stops per hour, while the ISP determines if the policy of pulling over at least two motorists per hour affected accident deaths. Ticket quotas are illegal in Indiana.


Los Angeles Times:

Village Voice:

Toronto Sun:

Clark County News and Tribune:

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