Cop Fired for Speaking Out Against Ticket and Arrest Quotas

(REASON TV)   Auburn, Alabama is home to sprawling plains, Auburn University, and a troubling police force. After the arrival of a new police chief in 2010, the department entered an era of ticket quotas and worse.

“When I first heard about the quotas I was appalled,” says former Auburn police officer Justin Hanners, who claims he and other cops were given directives to hassle, ticket, or arrest specific numbers of residents per shift. “I got into law enforcement to serve and protect, not be a bully.”

Hanners blew the whistle on the department’s tactics and was eventually fired for refusing to comply and keep quiet. He says that each officer was required to make 100 contacts each month, which included tickets, arrests, field interviews, and warnings. This equates to 72,000 contacts a year in a 50,000 person town. His claims are backed up by audio recordings of his superiors he made. The Auburn police department declined requests to be interviewed for this story.

“There are not that many speeders, there are not that many people running red lights to get those numbers, so what [the police] do is they lower their standards,” says Hanners. That led to the department encouraging officers to arrest people that Hanners “didn’t feel like had broken the law.”

Former Reason staffer Radley Balko, now an investigative reporter for the Huffington Post and author of the new book, Rise of the Warrior Cop, says that this isn’t just a nuisance, it infringes on public safety.

“You have a policy that encourages police to create petty crimes and ignore serious crimes, and that’s clearly the opposite of what we want our police to be doing,” says Balko.

Hanners repeatedly voiced his concerns through his chain of command, and the department responded that these requirements are necessary for increasing productivity.

Yet Hanners firmly believes that the quotas are entirely revenue driven.

“I had no intention of dropping it,” says Hanners, “This is a problem in more places than Auburn, and I think once the people know that they can hold their public officials accountable, it’ll change.”

The police chief singled out by Hanners retired this July, citing medical reasons.

3 Responses to Cop Fired for Speaking Out Against Ticket and Arrest Quotas

  • What happened to Justin Hanners is nothing new under the sun concerning law enforcement, the prison industrial complex, in the police-surveillance state we live in. Popeye, have you heard of Adrian Schoolcraft of the New York Police Department? He secretly recorded conversations from 2008 to 2009 as evidence of corruption and wrongdoing. The tapes revealed how police qoutas where demanded by NYPD and led to abuses of wrongful arrests. Hanners is lucky. Schoolcraft was harassed, reassigned to a desk job and one afternoon leaving work, an a emergency wagon and police pulled up to his home, entered it and forcibly committed him to a psychiatric unit for 10 days. I highly respect Hanners integrity and its good to see police officers who are not just indoctrinated automatons, but power corrupts, power corrupts absolutely. Hanner and Schoolcraft are the exception. In a zeitgeist where the NDAA, FISA, and all the tools of an Orwellian police state are in affect, I’m afraid will see more qoutas enforced and who knows what else.

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