Workers in the manufacturing and production industry are given quotas. It’s a number they aim for to make their workday productive. Their employer sets these numbers purposefully high to encourage harder work, more effort, and ultimately a better outcome for their business. But, what if police departments set quotas for officers—giving them a certain number of arrests or searches that must be performed in a certain time period? That’s exactly what the NYPD is accused of doing, among other things, and their defense to the allegations is laughable and not vindicating.
According to the NY Times, the issue of police quotas has come up again in the stop-and-frisk class action suit against the department. By setting quotas, or what the department prefers to call “performance goals”—officers were encouraged to get out and search people, to arrest people often in situations that they may not have otherwise done.
The justification for these performance goals, according to the department, is lazy police officers. Police Chief Joseph J. Esposito testified that you have two extremes when it comes to officer personalities. On one end, you have 10% of the officers who would do anything, who would get out and write tickets, perform searches, and do their job no matter “how bad the conditions are.” Then, you have the other 10%, on the other end of the spectrum.
According to Chief Esposito, these officers are simply lazy. And it’s these officers that the performance goals target. To be exact, Esposito called them, “complete malcontents that will do as little as possible no matter how well you treat them.” Performance goals, therefore in the mind of the department, are motivators—a way to get malcontents off their butts and on the job.
Whether you call it a quota or a performance goal doesn’t seem to matter (unless you are a Department official). The officers perceive these numbers in the same way—a target which they have to hit, regardless of the quality of those civilian interactions.
For the department, a performance goal is not the same as a quota, which incidentally, state law forbids.
The issue has come up because quotas are both unlawful and if in use, they would help explain the departments affinity for discriminatory stop-and-frisk practices, what the entire trial is about.
The NYPD is notorious for their interactions with the public. Whether you are stopped on the street or pulled over, when you are arrested in New York, you need someone on your side who can advocate for your rights. Contact our offices today to discuss your case and how we might be able to help.