Metro police point system targets drivers - WKRN News 2

Metro police point system targets drivers

Posted: Updated: May 2, 2013 09:49 PM

A document obtained by Nashville's News 2 from a Metro Nashville police officer outlines a point system patrol officers used to track productivity.

According to the North Precinct officer who gave it to Nashville's News 2, if an officer did not collect enough points during their shift, they faced discipline.

In some cases, the discipline was reassignment to less desirable shifts, loss of take home car privileges or being given unpaid days off from work.

The sheet is from 2011, and on it there are two categories, "proactive" and "time available".

Under the "proactive" category, there are duties including physical arrest, juvenile physical arrests, juvenile citation arrest and traffic stops, among others.

Each duty has a point value. A physical arrest is worth one point, as are juvenile physical arrests.

Juvenile citation arrests are worth three-fourths of a point, and traffic stops are worth two-tenths of a point.

Under the "time available" category, points are deducted for alternative assignments, court time, incident reports and accident reports.

The two categories are then divided to produce a proactive-to-time available ratio.

The Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) has heard complaints from officers about similar tracking systems.

"Periodically, every once in a while, we have officers who may feel a certain amount of focus is being put on them and their productivity," FOP President Sgt. Robert Weaver said. "We do have officers, who on occasion under various commands, feel like they could be subject to days off or their take home car privileges being looked at."

The FOP said it works with officers and supervisors when issues surrounding tracking productivity and consequences arise.

"We work with various commands to make sure the message is clear and the officers understand on the front end what the expectations are," Sgt. Weaver said. "If we find an instance where the officer feels the expectations are not clear or are changing, we want to make sure we assist in getting the message out to the officer and feedback to the command."

Sgt. Weaver said he has not seen the point sheet given to Nashville's News 2.

We showed the sheet to drivers at the A.A. Birch Building downtown to pay tickets, and they did not like the idea of being pulled over to satisfy a predetermined point expectation.

"I feel like that boosts officers to pull people over just to try to meet that quota, and they shouldn't do that," driver Dallas Crumble said. "That shouldn't be the motivation."

He continued, "There should be honest motivation behind it besides just trying to get points."

Other drivers thought the point sheet explained an increased amount of enforcement they said they notice when driving around town.

"At the beginning and the end of the month it just seems like there is more of a quota that needed to be filled," Thomas Housel said. "You just see random people being pulled over and thinking you are going to be the next one."

"I was pulled over and he told me I was speeding, then as soon as I left there was someone pulled over approaching a stop sign," Jordan Harrison said. "You could kind of tell he was eyeing for people to pull over."

Setting quotas for traffic tickets is illegal in the state of Tennessee.

Anthony Carter was commander of the North Precinct in 2011.  He is now Assistant Police Chief at Tennessee State University, however he declined Nashville's News 2's request for an interview about the point sheet.

Terrence Graves is the current North Precinct commander. Nashville's News 2 provided him a copy of the sheet and he said he has not seen it before.

Commander Graves also said his supervisors do not motivate officers by using a point system.

He said he speaks with all new supervisors assigned to his precinct to make it clear quotas are not acceptable.

Metro police said their officers' main priority is not to write tickets.

According to police officials, the mission is to catch criminals, reduce crime and serve the community.

Nashville's News 2 obtained statistics from Metro police about traffic stops.

As of April 13, 2013 Metro police officers made 130,020 vehicle stops with 84.8 percent of those stops resulting in warnings and 15.2 percent of stops resulting in citations.

So far in 2013, officers have made 9,019 arrests as a result of traffic stops.

Those numbers are on par with last year's. In 2012 Metro Police made 442,338 traffic stops, the vast majority of which ended in warnings.

Officers issued warnings 84.5 percent of the time and issued citations 15.5 percent of the time.

In 2012, vehicle stops lead to 29,191 arrests. That number is slightly down from 2011 when the point sheet was given to Nashville's News 2.

In 2011, out of 392,526 vehicle stops 19.1 percent resulted in citations compared to 15.5 percent in 2012.

During that time there were 28,503 arrests as a result of a vehicle stop compared to 29,191 in 2012.

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