Quotas vs. Performance Objective

At the end of last month, I had the pleasure (sarcasm just doesn’t translate in the written word very well) of stopping a gentleman for something or other. The violation is by no means the crux of the matter, but suffice it to say, he did something he wasn’t supposed to.

At any rate, not only did he know the Chief (called him by first name…which I found hilarious), or so he claimed, he also accused me of trying to fill a quota. So, I present to you, my little ravings on said quota…

Those of us in Law Enforcement have all gotten the email with like 100 different snappy comebacks when someone says something about a quota. For example, “I get to write as many of these as I want” or “One more and the wife and I get a toaster”. Now, I know some of you aren’t on the job, so it’s education time. Ready? Quotas are illegal. Got that? Now I don’t have case law memorized about it (thank you, DA, but it isn’t the point…I know you started sifting through your lawyering books), but I know enough to understand that quotas = bad.

Performance objectives, on the other hand, are perfectly legal. A gentle euphemism, you say? Semantics? I disagree. And here’s why. Let’s say you’re a barista (coffee purveyor for those of you less in the know). You’re job is selling/pouring coffee. If you don’t perform up to a certain standard, you are held accountable. Similar thing in my job. Probably similar thing in your job, too. It’s no different for a regular beat cop. If you get zero arrests in a month, the rest of us start to question your willingness to work and your basic abilities to be a cop. There’s no strict requirement (read: Quota) for arrests or citations. At some point, however, if you’re not pulling your weight, it starts to show. Know who notices a lack of performance the most? Your beat partners. Your partners are much more likely to let you know your shit stinks far before Admin. None of us likes a lazy beat partner.

All of this is not to say we are making bad arrests or writing chicken shit tickets. Believe me, there are plenty of bad people/morons who are quite deserving of being arrested or receiving tickets. We’ve no need to make up charges on anyone.

So, bottom line time. Am I required to write X number of tickets? No. Am I encouraged to write X number of tickets? More likely than not. Do I destroy that number of tickets in any given month? Yup. I’ve actually said something similar on a traffic stop…

Driver: Are you filling your quota?
MC: Sir/Maam, believe me when I say that if I had a quota, I’d blow by it every month. Have a nice day…

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic. Snark is encouraged. Being a prat is not.

9 thoughts on “Quotas vs. Performance Objective

  1. Ho. Lee. Shit. This is why no one likes lawyers, man.

    To everyone else, I'm so so sorry. That was two minutes of our lives we will never get back. 🙂

    Oh, and DA? I was making a much broader point to the uninformed, not making a legal argument. Geez…lighten up. Go buy your kid an ice cream or something. hehe

  2. I'm all in favor of the police enforcing traffic laws and citing dangerous driving. When you have to wait three hours for the police just to show after you've had a burglary, however, you have to wonder if all the priorities are in the right place. This isn't the fault of an individual officer but higher up the chain of command. Sometimes it seems too many resources are devoted to writing citations and not enough to serious crime. We've had about a dozen burglaries in our neighborhood in the last 6 months. None of them have been solved. There has been pretty much zero police follow-up. Just getting a phone call returned takes a week. The only time we see a regular police presence is when they're out on the nearby highway writing citations. We've asked for increased drive-by's in our neighborhood but have been told "we're understaffed". Again this is not the fault of the individual officers, they're only following orders. This seems to be a fault at the level above them.

  3. I am pleasantly surprised at the coherence of that post I wrote last night. I had about 6 shots of gin on board. I think I need to install an IID (Ignition Interlock Device) on my keyboard.

  4. Johnny Taxpayer- there are all kinds of challenges to law enforcement right now. Budgets are tight, which shouldn't be a surprise, but there is also a hiring crisis. An angency in my county needs to hire 8 new cops this year, despite massive cutbucks. The problem is that they can't find 8 qualified people!

    Between low-level dope convictions and DUI, a surprising amount of young people aren't eligible for the job. Throw in the obesity epidemic, and just the prevelence of really stupid people in our society, and its hard to find good cop candidates. Even with unemployment rates approaching double digits!

    This is combined with retirements of baby boomers. Many departments are staffed by guys in their late 50's that are gonna be gone in 3-5 years. They will all need to be replaced.

    As for traffic enforcement, trust me, its valuable. Most turds aren't caught red handed- they are longgone by the time the cops get there. Once they figure out whoduunit, they issue an arrest warrant. You would be amazed how many hard-core criminals get caught when they get pulled over for something as dumb as running a stop sign. Luckily, turds drive like, well, turds.

  5. NS DA:
    Are you a corporate attorney? Wow that was some rant. I almost fell asleep in my beer reading that. I was okay learning that quotas were illegal from Motor (but I knew it already)…but thanks for the diligent documentation.

    You know you shouldn't drunk dial, but you also shouldn't drunk blog. And 6, come on dude, you're gonna need a liver by the time you're 25.

  6. ACC- there is NO FREAKIN' WAY I would do a corporate gig. I would sling triple half-calf white mochachinos to guys like MC before I would do that. I don't have a problem with what those guys do, its just that its so damn boring. I would slit my wrists after one day of document review in an intellectual property litigation.

    DA = District Attorney. If I worked in MC's county, he would be hookin’ ‘em, and I would be cleaning ‘em, spicin' 'em up, and slappin 'em on the barbie.

    As for my drinking habits, brother, I barely REMEMBER 25. Even if I hadn't spent my 20's in a drunken stupor, 25 was a long time ago.

    This is actually a good opportunity for education. I purposely said 6 shots to make it sound like I was completely hammered. Its true that I had 6 shots, but the image of some sloppy drunk pounding 6 shots of Gilbey's wasn't exactly accurate. First off, I'm a big dude. I weighed 1/8 of a ton and some change on New Year's day. It takes alot to get me truly wasted. I've been on a diet since New Years, and I've lost about 30 lbs (thank you, thank you, and fuck you very much!) and part of that diet is NO BEER except for Saturday. I drink Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, and that clocks in just shy of 200 calories a bottle (SNPA is an exceptionally high-calorie beer.) That means a 6 pack is about half the calories a normal man should consume IN A DAY. So I switched to gin and tonic.

    Gin is 56 calories per shot. That means I can make a triple G and T with diet tonic and still come in about 40 calories under ONE BEER.

    So, last night, when I sat down with my family for dinner around 1800 hrs (6 p.m. for grabasstic pieces of amphibian shit,) I made my triple. I nursed that baby until about 8, when my 3 year old went to bed. After my wife went to bed at about 2030 (10:30, maggots,) I made another one and drank it in about 10 minutes, giving me a nice toasty feeling, but far from hammered. I was probably at about .05 BAC. Legal to drive, but certainly beyond where I personally would feel safe to drive. You'll note my post came in just shy of midnight, and I had technically drank 6 shots of gin that night.

    A normal man on an empty stomach usually peaks about 30 minutes after drinking. So I hit that .05 just before 11:00. A normal man also metabolizes alcohol at a rate of about .02 per hour, so the triple I had at dinner should not have been a factor.
    If you ever have an opportunity to participate in a “correlation study,” DO IT. They basically get you fucked up and see how you perform on field sobriety tests (FSTs) and then let you drive a simulator. For mine, I had about 6 shots of vodka in about 45 minutes. I got up to .09 BAC, and I was FUCKED UP- no doubt. My personal “felt intoxication” level, where I know I shouldn’t be driving, is at about .05 BAC. By .09, I was WAY too wasted to drive, and I knew it. The idea that .08 isn’t that drunk is a filthy lie that kills people. .06 and above is dangerous, .08 is grossly reckless. Trust me- if you have any question about your ability to drive, CALL A FUCKIN’ CAB!!!! Its simply not worth it.

  7. DA – I was totally teasing you! I'd love to see you in court. Are you as vocal there as you are here? I love your passion anyway. I know you're older than 25 – shit you gotta be pushing 50-you blowhard! Keep up the rants, I love them really…except when they make my head hurt like the one about VC 41600.

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