Friday, August 21, 2009

Florida state troopers say all cops are career criminals



Illegal Police Quotas in Knoxville Tennessee

"It is illegal for law enforcement agencies to issue quotas for citations or arrests of individuals. The Fraternal Order of Police strongly disagrees with this illegal action and respectfully requests you rescind this action of supervisors at the Knoxville Police Department. If it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, it's still a duck. It's a quota."
-Edward Daniel, attorney for FOP and former KPD officer

"I was put under pressure. It was like a race. How many more people can we get today?"
-KPD police officer under arrest for falsifying evidence, describing the government's illegal quota

"Cops have a quota system."
-Sgt. James Eagan, New York State Police, from his book, A Speeder's Guide to Avoiding Tickets




FHP trooper says he was fired for not writing enough tickets

Illegal quote of 108 tickets per month

By Brant James
St Petersburg Times
August 10, 2009

LARGO — For drivers, it's a perennial cause for suspicion: Do police have a ticket quota? Are state troopers targeting speeders to meet that number?

The Florida Highway Patrol says absolutely not — ticket quotas are against policy.

But a former trooper based in Pinellas County says that's not true. Christopher Maul, who spent 12 years with the FHP, says he was fired in June for not writing enough tickets.

"The only reason I can see why I was fired was I didn't write enough tickets," said Maul, 38, who lives in Largo.

FHP TERMINATION LETTER

The FHP disputes that, saying Maul was fired for failing to meet performance standards. How many tickets a trooper writes is merely used to measure productivity, as is how much they assist motorists and work accidents, said Col. John Czernis, director of the Florida Highway Patrol.

Ticket quotas violate FHP policy, Czernis said.

"The bottom line is, there is no need for a quota system because there are all kinds of violations out there all day and night,'' he said.

But the number of tickets Maul wrote was frequently cited in a lengthy June memo laying out the case for his dismissal. Maul was four months short of completing a mandatory probation after leaving briefly for the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office and returning to the FHP.

Maul received a positive review earlier in June from his immediate supervisor. Later, an FHP major told Maul he was rescinding the evaluation because it did not "accurately reflect" his performance.

Maj. Ryan Burchnell noted that Maul wrote "only 63 citations, 22 warnings and eight faulty equipment notices while working 56 traffic crashes." And he wrote only 16 citations in December, Burchnell noted.

Maul, who said he didn't have radar in his police car for part of that period, improved his numbers as the months wore on, from 33 in January to 53 in April. Not good enough, Burchnell concluded: "Trooper Maul's citation-issuance has been substandard."

A captain for the area Maul patrolled sent Burchnell an e-mail saying that Maul's supervisors believe he has "a good work ethic.'' Burchnell was not swayed and demanded a new evaluation.

The head of the union representing troopers said the FHP is using Maul to set an example for other troopers.

"Chris was an easy kill," said Bill Smith, who heads the Police Benevolent Association FHP Chapter. "Because he was on probation, they picked on him. It's too hard and takes too much effort to get somebody else not on probation."

The FHP says that doesn't prove there's a ticket quota.

• • •

Maul spent 12 years with the FHP before leaving for the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office in January 2008. He was laid off a few months later because of budget cuts. He was offered a job with the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office but took a $37,000-a-year trooper job with the FHP in October to be closer to his Largo home and familiar colleagues in Pinellas.

"They didn't have to take him back," said Frank Burke, of the troopers union. "If they didn't want him back, why take him?"

During his probation, Maul's immediate supervisor, Sgt. Raymond Ada, concluded that Maul was meeting or exceeding expectations.

Capt. Robert French scrawled "keep up the good work'' on a February review that read: "Trooper Maul is a good trooper with a lot of experience. I do not foresee him having any difficulty in completing his probationary period."

Burchnell disagreed and set about to change Maul's evaluations.

In an e-mail exchange, Burchnell told Capt. Urana Harris: "I am going to hold the supervisors accountable, which means you.'' He added that Maul "is not cutting it."

Burchnell told Harris to submit another evaluation "when you know I will accept it."

In a June 9 memo, Harris said she discussed with Maul the rescinding of the positive evaluation and his job performance, specifically his possible misrepresentation of how he logged the hours of his daily activities and his efforts in "proactive law enforcement."

Maul says Harris stressed his ticket-writing activities. In response, he wrote 12 speeding citations, two seat-belt violations and two warnings in the next five days before taking a scheduled leave.

Maul was fired June 23. In a letter explaining the termination, Burchnell contended that Maul's first stint with the FHP was sub-standard and that he should not have been rehired.

But Maul's personnel file is filled with positive performance evaluations.

There were some complaints about small errors in accident reports, but also letters of thanks from families of accident victims with whom Maul had interacted.

He met expectations in conduct, approach and professionalism, and was noted for his high number of DUI arrests. He got a similar review on May 18, and was said to be exceeding expectations in some areas.

But his final review — the one ordered by Burchnell — showed he was not meeting expectations.

"What they've done is created pressure for tickets," said Smith, the union official. "You put enough pressure on people and it'll work."

• • •

Allegations of quotas for law enforcement are not new.

A Pittsburgh Post-Gazette investigation revealed a push for more citations in the Pennsylvania State Police in 2002.

Michael Hennessy, a 22-year veteran of the Fort Lauderdale Police Department, filed a whistle-blower lawsuit in Broward County in October, claiming he was being retaliated against for revealing a quota for arrests and citations within the force. The case has not gone to trial.

Burke and Smith have another issue with the way Maul was fired.

They contend the FHP broke a state Department of Management Services rule that forbids performance evaluations from being "changed by a higher level authority.''

Burchnell could not be reached for comment. Czernis declined to specifically address Maul's work history or dismissal, but repeatedly stressed trooper work ethic in an interview with the St. Petersburg Times.

"You expect an honest day's work at the pay you've agreed upon," Czernis said. "The big difference in our job is, if we don't do our job, people die, and that's the whole crux of the whole thing."

Maul, unemployed and engaged to be married, says getting fired doesn't make finding a job any easier. But he doesn't really want a different job.

"I want them to hire me back," Maul said. "I didn't do anything wrong."

Times researcher Caryn Baird contributed to this report. Brant James can be reached at brant@sptimes.com or 727-893-8804.

120 Comments

cop from tampa: We have quotas and you have to write tickets.

I was suspended from working any and all hireback in 2007 by a Troop Commander. His reason? Not enough tickets written! I lost over $3500 in the time of the suspension, fought it with the Union (IUPA) and it is currently under settlement proceedings.

Since taking his position as major in Troop C, Ryan Burchnell has done much to hurt the already wavering morale of troopers. This latest stunt concerning Trooper Maul is only one of many things Burchnell has done to isolate himself and work towards his next promotion. Burchnell not only threatened Maul's job for not writing enough citations, but several other probationary troopers as well. When asked how many citations they should be issuing to keep Burchnell happy, he refused to put anything in writing, knowing of course that would be against FHP policy and Florida law. However, he has no problem looking at a trooper and telling them verbally their job is in jeopardy unless they write 20 more tickets which in the case of one particular trooper would total 108 citations each month. So there is your quota courtesy of Burchnell, unless of course you are a motorcycle officer in which case you are required to write 250 citations per month or lose your position. The end result: trooper.

"We don't have quotas; we just make sure you are writing enough tickets." Can you say classic Orwellian double speak? This is more proof that LE is about money and not safety. With all the federal funding FHP receives, there is no reason for quotas.

Another thought - if they can send you a ticket based on a photograph of you running a red light, why does a trooper have to PULL YOU OVER in rush hour traffic to write you a speeding ticket? Why can't he just mail the speed demons their tickets?

Ticket QUOTAs,CAMERA QUOTAs,is he serious?Will these TAX PAYER FNDED EMPLOYEES do what ever it takes to rake in the bucks from the poor slobs who are trying to survive from day to day--oh no !The game of life is simple.Want answers?LOOK for the $$$$$

No quota my ass. If you want to ticket me for speeding, then fine. But don't be in the oncoming lane doing 15-20 mph OVER the speed limit yourself, and then hit the brakes and pull me over. I know, you were going to an emergency. RIGGHTT.

Well I think the majority of us know that indeed there is a Quota. But if officers and higher ups are still willing to lie about it so openly, then i ask, what else wouldnt they lie about??........EXACTLY, very SCARY!! Hope he gets his job back

So is it about making us safer or generating revenue??? Seems like the cynical side would win this argument. More proof, LE isn't out to protect us, they are protecting themselves....

Let's face it folks. In todays economy, criminals financially drain and traffic tickets add vital funding. It seems to be policy to leave the felons alone and go after misdemeaners.

We have no quotas, I can write as many tickets as I like...

The cops can write as many tickets for trafic violation as they can. Are trafic violations the biggest danger to the citizens. Probably not. They also represent a easy place to take money from the People. I wish the worst for the people who practise this

Don't let them kid you. They mght not call it a quota. There is pressure put on police officers regarding tickets. Tickets mean MONEY. Today there is more pressure than ever because of the economy.

Tickets are purely revenue generation. If the traffic cops wanted to prevent crashes, they'd be in the obvious areas, and not hiding on empty roads and HOA thoroughfares.

If it looks like a duck, quacks like and walks like a duck, it's probably a.......egotistical, lying, abusive government employee. You'll have to decide which one.

he didn't hate the public enough so he was fired

Ticket quotas are against the law in Florida so FHP will never admit to using them. The last thing I want are officers writing tickets like robots just to meet their quota. While they are busy writing mom & pop for 7 over lunatic cops pass them at 25+

Boy, the FHP must really think we're all so stupid enough to believe their BS about not having quota's. If there should be any kind of quota's, it should be that X-amount of gang members, and other violent people are arrested every month or so but

Burchnell is a product of the corrupt FL "good ole boy" system. His father-in-law was well-connected in the FHP. Want to see what real uncensored FHP think of the major? Go to forums.leoaffairs.com and look for the FHP board. They HATE that guy.

Steve from Ocala: that quota joke is so funny. Ha Ha ha. 'we can right as many tickets as we want.' YEHAA! Never heard that one before.

We all knew it. This confirms our suspiscions. You don't need a written rule to create "policy." This is why I greet the PBA and the Troopers who ask for money on the phone with profanity and verbal abuse. They can get their money if they want it.

He wants his job back, so I guess he's ok with ticket quotas (which officially don't exist).

I knew Maul-a good and concientious man. Worked mostly nights, and locked up a LOT of drunk drivers. Unfortunately, for FHP, one drunk arrrrest equals one citation. If Maul had played the game, he would ignore the drunks, and write only movers.

Major Burchnell is a disgrace and despicable in his actions. The FHP should of discharged him for conduct unbecoming an Officer and for violating a Trooper's rights, and for false evaluations demanded from Officers over Maul. It's sickening.

I've seen many more police out hiding in medians lately in order to give more tickets. I have also seen motorcycle cops weaving in and out of traffic to look in windows to nail people for seatbelt violations. The fuzz is full of bull.

Hum...22 warning's, well I think he's getting punished for being a good guy! Everyone knows that cops, and FHP has quota's, it's no big secret! I agree, this trooper should be reinstated!!

41st Precinct: formula was this, accident + location + contributing factor e.g. running stop sign = five movers for fail to stop. we had cops assigned to enforce that. every one else had to get the verbal numbers eg. 10 movers 30 parkers per month or lose your seat

Ticket quotas or Racketeering? Sounds like a RICO suit. Cops are supposed to enforce the law, not generate revenue. I a all for keeping the roads safe, but quotas make cops into toll trolls.

While police hover to wait for a parking meeter to run out to ticket 1 minute over time (true story) or bust speeding at 7 miles over limit (true), a wife is being beaten, a child neglected, a dog abused, a drug sale, a burglary, panhandling!!!

Maj. Ryan Burchnell needs to be investigated by an outside agency as he may have violated state laws. As a former law enforcement officer, I can assure you that they do have a quota for traffic violations. It is called "activity" to confuse people.

Definately plenty of speeders out there for him to catch. I passed at least 30 of them this morning on my way to work!

If they dont have so many tickets to write, why do we often find cops hiding to issue tickets??????

Traffic enforcement is told to "increase customer contacts" not meet quotas. Take a drive anywhere and you'll see that there is a great opportunity to "increase customer contacts" and turn the patrols into profit centers. Make 'em pay!

Revenue from traffic tickets is counted as income for purposes of drafting city, county and state budgets so they HAVE to know ahead of time more or less how much they can "count" on in the coming year - wink, wink...

Semantics, performance and quota. I see a lot of these Troopers and they all have an attitude, superior to the citizen. Too bad you have to do your job, but with all the violations on the road I do not see why it is hard to meet the quota.

Tickets = Money!!!! Gotta work harder big guy!!!

If there's ten good honest, truthful, sincere ethical law enforcement officers out of 100 it would be a miracle. It's important to weed out Good COPS in order to protect the Lack of Integrity among the Group of BAD COPS. Christopher MAUL Stand TALL!!

"We don't have quotas, we have 'performance standards'." Wow! talk about parsing. How about "It's not cow flop it's manure". As the Bard said "A rose by any other name would still smell as sweet".

Typical-actually get someone who does his job and then get rid of em' because he does his job. Gotta love state goverment

FHP as well as most law enforcement agencies are basically tax collectors with guns.Remember its not "To serve and protect" its "To stop and collect".

There are plenty of news stories the Times could come up with as it relates to FHP management in the Tampa area. Complete misuse of resources and a ton of "special" enforcement details to inflate the numbers. Everyone is leaving FHP because of him

They can deny quotas all they want. I believe there are quotas especially now with the state budget and the county budgets being in the shape they are. Come on FHP just be honest!!!

With all of the crooked cops on the force you need to get rid of good cops they give bad cops a bad name.! Absolute power absolutely corrupts and that is what has happened in all of Florida police departments.

The rest of the force should retaliate by not writing any tickets untill this guy is fired and the officer reinstated.

Thank God they dont have a quota on bullets fired at civilians!




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