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A former police officer of Auburn, Alabama has recently spoken out against the police department’s ticket quota tactics. “When I first heard about the quotas I was appalled.” says Justin Hanners, whose refusal to drop the issue of ticket quotas lost him his job.
“I got into law enforcement to serve and protect, not be a bully.” Says Hanners who claimsthat himself among other police officers were given orders through the chain of command to ticket or arrest a specific numbers of residents of Auburn per shift.
Hanners also says that each officer was required to make 100 contacts each month, this includes warnings, tickets, arrests, and field interviews. In total the police department requires 72,000 contacts in a year, this is more than the city’s population of 50,000.
The Auburn police department has responded to Hanners concerns by stating that the quotas are necessary in order to increase productivity. According to Hanners, the town of Auburn does not have enough people breaking the law to meet the number of required contacts a month, which led to the department encouraging police officers to arrest people who Hanners “didn’t feel like had broken the law.”
“This is a problem in more places than Auburn, and I think once the people know that they can hold their public officials accountable, it’ll change,” Hanners says.
The quotas that these officers are required to meet pushes them to arrest people for the pettiest of crimes, while ignoring any serious crimes in order to meet their monthly quota. Is this what we want our police to be doing?