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Leaked Arlington Police Memo Seems To Outline A Ticket Quota System

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Credit: Win McNamee/Getty Images

Credit: Win McNamee/Getty Images

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ARLINGTON (CBSDC) — An internal memo from the Arlington County Police Department seems to outline a quota system for the number of arrests, tickets and other citations an officer is expected to make or distribute each month.

The memo, which was obtained by 9News Now, says the minimum goals established were based on shift averages, informal polls and internal discussions between various squads and their supervisors.

The problem? Quota systems are illegal in a number of states, including in Maryland. In other states, the practice is simply not highly thought of.

It restricts an officer’s ability to use discretion with each incident. Arlington’s guidelines state a warning may only be issued in 25 percent of traffic stops.

The memo clarifies the expectations are not to be taken as a quota system, per se.

“While there is not, (nor) has there ever been, a quota for traffic enforcement, the numbers are indicators of activity and indicators of whether the officers and corporals are conducting enforcement pursuant to our operational directives,” it reads.

Officer expectations according to the memo:

Day shifts

  • Arrests – 3
  • Field Observation Reports – 3
  • Traffic Summons – 28 (maximum 25% warnings)
  • Parking Citations – 15

Evening shifts

  • Arrests – 7
  • Field Observation Reports – 5
  • Traffic Summons – 30 (maximum 25% warnings)
  • Parking Citations – 5

Midnight shifts

  • Arrests – 7
  • DUI – 1
  • Field Observation Reports – 3
  • Traffic Summons – 16 (maximum 25% warnings)
  • Parking citations – 5

“This particular memorandum, Proactivity Expectations 2012, was distributed to Operations Division staff on March 1, 2012 in an effort to maintain consistency amongst each squad,” an Arlington Police Department spokesperson responded to 9News Now. “It should be clear that this serves as a guideline for Operations Division personnel and will not be considered a quota for enforcement.”

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