Police Chief Douglas Scott of Arlington County, Va., denies allegations of ticket quotas

10:44 PM, Apr 10, 2012   |    comments
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ARLINGTON COUNTY, Va.  (WUSA) - Arlington County's Police Chief just wants this story to go away. The perception that his department has a quota system. Through a FOIA, Freedom of Information Act, request, WUSA 9 News obtained a pile of internal memos pertaining to expectations for numbers of tickets and arrests. Several give the appearance of a quota system.

"If someone needs to be held accountable, it's me," said Chief Douglas Scott. He says he never saw any of the memos before they went out to any of his 360 officers. One requires officers working an overtime shift running radar to write five tickets per hour.

"That's one of the documents we are going to be revising," says Chief Scott.

The memo is one of four, going back to 2010, that contain "goals," "expectations," or "levels of production" for numbers of tickets, reports and arrests. A memorandum written on October 10, 2010 to F Squad Corporals/Officers to F Squad Supervisory Personnel recommends monthly levels of production to be 1.5 Traffic Tickets, 5 Parking Tickets, 7 Arrests, 5 Field Observation Reports, and 1 DUI.

One of those memos we received from our FOIA request is the same one an Arlington police officer gave us last month. It lists monthly numerical expectations for parking and traffic tickets, as well as arrests. It also said "failing to attain these goals could result in disciplinary action." Chief Scott has since rescinded that memo and calls it a "problem statement."

"Nobody has ever received suspension, a form or letter of corrective action, something that would go in their personnel file, or certainly been up to and being terminated because they didn't write enough tickets in a month," said the Chief.

Although he added, that doesn't mean officers haven't been counseled by their superiors for not being pro-active.

Chief Scott says he didn't know about any of these memos until WUSA 9 news brought the first to his attention. He says he's neither angry nor surprised that he didn't see the memos before they went out. With 500 employees, Chief Scott says he can't see everything and has to trust his commanders. But he is making sure nothing resembling quotas will go out again.

"From the highest level of the organization, we're not about quotas. I don't expect it, I won't tolerate it. If people sense that they're under that kind of pressure, than they need to communicate it through their lines of supervision and we would take steps to eliminate that," he said.

Chief Scott said he finds it hard to believe that he's been chief for nine years and has never seen any of these documents until recently. He says no officer has ever complained to him about quotas and he hopes that's a sign that they don't believe there are any quotas.

 

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