RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Representing approximately 800 law enforcement officers in the Commonwealth, the Virginia Police Benevolent Association (PBA) is speaking out after reports that supervisors are instituting ticket quotas.
One such report came in the form of a memo sent out by a supervisor with the Virginia State Police (VSP) in the Williamsburg area. It read, in part, “There is no reason you should not be writing 5 tickets minimum on a typical day (that’s one every two hours). If you are on free patrol, you should be writing more if you want to remain on free patrol.”
Although a VSP spokesperson told 8News that the law enforcement agency does not have ticket quotas, Sean McGowan with the Virginia Police Benevolent Association said that, as a former law enforcement officer himself, he has seen this issue in other agencies across the state.
“The evaluation process being rated on the number of tickets is, frankly, it’s an outdated process that’s been used for police departments for years, and it’s just not applicable anymore,” McGowan said. “The citizens of Virginia do not want it, the officers who are subjected to it don’t want it, the legislators seem to not want it.”
That’s why the PBA is working with state lawmakers in the Commonwealth to bring forth legislation that would prohibit the evaluation process of law enforcement officers to consider a number of traffic citations to be issued in a certain time period. McGowan said that the association is working closely with State Sen. Bryce Reeves through the legal process.
Reeves served in the U.S. Army before working as an officer and detective in Prince William County.
“Senator Bryce Reeves is a law enforcement officer. He’s one of us,” McGowan said. “The State Police Chapter Board has met with him and discussed legislation to bring this forward to prevent the citizens of Virginia and the law enforcement officers in Virginia from being subjected to quotas. It’s not good for either.”
McGowan told 8News that the wording of the measure is in its draft form.
Meanwhile, McGowan also said that he has received several emails with documentation on such quotas that are reportedly in place throughout the state, though they made be referenced by different names.
“They’re threatened with discipline if they don’t produce those numbers,” he said. “You can call it whatever you want. I think the citizens of Virginia and the legislators all know exactly what it is.”
The practice of ticket quotas essentially requires law enforcement officers to issue a certain amount of citations or tickets in a given amount of time. It is already illegal in several states, including California, Florida, New York and Texas.
“The quota system is there and it’s not uniform across the entire department. It’s an individual supervisor decision, apparently,” McGowan said. “We feel it’s an appropriate time to bring it forward and bring legislation that will prevent supervisors from using this as an easy tool to evaluate officers that really does not reveal how the troopers do in their job.”