Ar­ling­ton County chief de­nies quo­tas for cops

The Washington Times Daily - - Metro - BY MERED­ITH SOMERS

Ar­ling­ton County Po­lice Chief M. Dou­glas Scott on Tues­day de­nied that his of­fi­cers are en­cour­aged to meet quo­tas for writ­ing speed­ing and park­ing tick­ets — but only af­ter an em­bar­rass­ing in­trade­part­men­tal memo out­lin­ing “proac­tiv­ity ex­pec­ta­tions” was made public.

Chief Scott said he be­came aware of the March 1 memo on Mon­day and acted swiftly to re­scind the let­ter and avoid any mis­con­cep­tion among county res­i­dents and his 360 of­fi­cers.

The ex­pec­ta­tions out­lined in the memo range from ar­rests to field-ob­ser­va­tion re­ports to traf­fic sum­monses and park­ing ci­ta­tions. Though the num­bers dif­fer among day, evening and mid­night shifts, ac­cord­ing to the memo, all of­fi­cers should be writ­ing about 30 traf­fic and park­ing tick­ets per month.

“We do not want there to be any con­fu­sion with our of­fi­cers, with the public, that we have numeric ex­pec­ta­tions and value quan­tity over qual­ity, be­cause we sim­ply do not,” Chief Scott said, as he stood out­side the Ar­ling­ton po­lice head­quar­ters near where mo­ments ear­lier a driver had been pulled over by a squad car.

First re­ported by WUSA-TV (Chan­nel 9), the memo, dated March 1, out­lined for pa­trol of­fi­cers the monthly av­er­ages that should be met to avoid pos­si­ble dis­ci­plinary ac­tion.

“I think it was a mis­take,” Chief Scott said Tues­day. “I think the in­tent in the mem­o­ran­dum was to pro­vide some guide­lines. It was not an in­tent to

threaten of­fi­cers to hit an ar­bi­trary num­ber.”

Chief Scott said the memo was gen­er­ated af­ter a dis­cus­sion about rea­son­able ex­pec­ta­tions be­tween pa­trol su­per­vi­sors, of­fi­cers and com­man­ders.

“In hind­sight, they un­der­stand there was a bet­ter way to com­mu­ni­cate that,” he said, adding that a con­sis­tently un­der­per­form­ing of­fi­cer should be ad­dressed one-on-one by his su­per­vi­sor.

The com­man­ders who wrote the memo will not be dis­ci­plined, the chief said, adding that they were “em­bar­rassed” by the firestorm of at­ten­tion the guide­lines had re­ceived. Un­like Mary­land, which has a law that pro­hibits ticket quo­tas, Virginia po­lice forces are per­mit­ted to have per­for­mance ex­pec­ta­tions.

When ex­pec­ta­tions be­come un­rea­son­able, Chief Scott warned, prob­lems can oc­cur. For ex­am­ple, faced with an im­pend­ing dead­line — which Chief Scott said could be the re­sult of any num­ber of le­git­i­mate rea­sons — an of­fi­cer might take to the roads “look­ing for vol­ume ver­sus qual­ity.”

“We do ex­pect of­fi­cers to make ar­rests and write tick­ets and do en­force­ment ac­tions each and ev­ery day, but we don’t want to put an ar­bi­trary num­ber on it.”

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