If you live in the Cincinnati area, you might want to think twice about jaywalking or throwing your litter on the street—especially if you do so in the district 4 area.
Recently, the Cincinnati Enquirer obtained a list of district 4 goals. The note states that officers should make 2 felony and 10 misdemeanor arrests and write 2 tickets for pedestrian violations (like jaywalking), 8 for traffic offenses, and 12 for parking.
Failure to do so may result in a nasty note being placed in the officer’s personnel file. And for really lax officers, they may be required to write on the chalkboard 100 times that he or she will issue more tickets.
Some Cincinnati police officers aren’t pleased about goals detailing how many arrests and tickets they should write. Although some officers don’t like the goals; nitpicky bosses say the list isn’t anything more than a performance guideline. In Los Angeles several officers hated ticket quotas so much that they sued because they were retaliated against for complaining about quotas. A jury awarded them $2 million dollars for their pain and suffering.
District 4 covers Mount Auburn north to Avondale, Hartwell, Carthage, and around certain areas of UC and the hospitals. Whalen, a 26 year veteran, says goals are used to motivate officers and monitor their work.
But there is a small glitch—through the department’s Employee Tracking System, the goals that are only guidelines will track performance.
Others think the city is looking to plug a $33 million deficit. And no one is saying how many tickets need to be written to cover the deficit.
Former policeman, Councilman Wendell Young said that civilians have to understand that sometimes goals prompt an officer to get information about something bigger. He said that stopping a suspicious pedestrian for jaywalking can lead to a bigger case than a jaywalking ticket. And this makes sense because of all the drug dealers and killers that get pulled over for not wearing a seatbelt.
Although notes can be seen by reviewing supervisors, Kathy Harrell, president of the Fraternal Order of Police, said none of the notes (Employee Supplemental Logs) have resulted in any discipline. For now, she said the union won’t do anything, but will reconsider if an officer actually gets disciplined for not meeting goals.
Police ticket quota talk is nothing new because agencies have been accused of pursuing quotas for as long as the first American deputy received his badge.
But to be fair to Cincinnati’s finest; nowhere does the note mention the word quota. Some areas have outlawed ticket quotas to keep police officers from going ticket crazy and developing carpal tunnel for giving out too many unnecessary tickets.
It’s this writer’s opinion that quotas are better suited for military recruiters, salespeople and bill collectors.