Is there a difference between Quotas and "Productivity Standards?"

Police practice: productivity analysis for basic police patrol activities
FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin,The, May, 2005 by Roy H. Herndon, IIIE-mail Print Link

Law enforcement officers prove valuable to their communities in a variety of ways, not all of which can be measured easily. To this end, agencies often struggle to find methods to fairly evaluate their personnel. Departments must give factors, such as officer competence and courtesy, appropriate weight. Managers need to value the quality of the tasks performed and not focus only on the quantity.

However, fully and accurately evaluating personnel does require a fair measurement of productivity. “Understandably … law enforcement organizations do not condone ‘quotas’ …. Rather, each agency does have certain expected levels of performance that they attempt to monitor officers’ performance by. The key is in developing some realistic measurement devices that will substantiate that the officer is working and that this work is meaningful to the community.” (1) While departments must avoid mandating specific numbers for performance criteria, they still can gauge an officer’s productivity by analyzing certain measurable activities related to the job. This then can provide useful insight for incorporation into the employee’s overall evaluation.

May 02, 2007
Police Quotas?

You don’t say! Although they call it a “performance” measure:

Some Denver police officers are under more pressure these days to write traffic tickets. CBS4 investigator Brian Maass learned a ticket writing quota has been instituted for officers in the Traffic Operations Bureau.

For about two dozen motorcycle officers, the order is to write 16 tickets for an eight hour shift. Fall short, and they will have to explain their slacking to superior officers.

Captain Eric Rubin, commander of 79 officers in the Traffic Operations Bureau, contends it’s “not a quota,” but he calls it a “measure of performance” for officers whose primary duty is to enforce traffic laws. “It’s a goal we are striving for,” he said.

The American Heritage Dictionary defines quota in part as ”a production assignment.”
Benchmarks? Or revenue stream?

Cops should use discretion–not “performance” measures to determine whether to ticket.

Falls Church Police Must Meet Quota For Tickets

By Tom Jackman
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, August 8, 2004; Page C01

It’s not unusual for patrol officers in the city of Falls Church to hand a motorist two, three or even four tickets during one traffic stop. Drivers sometimes ask Officer Scott Rhodes whether he’s trying to fill some sort of quota.

“I answer the citizens honestly,” said Rhodes, who is president of the Falls Church Coalition of Police union. “Did I write them because of a quota? Yes, sir, I did.”

Falls Church police require patrol officers to write an average of three tickets, or make three arrests, every 12-hour shift, and to accumulate a minimum total of 400 tickets and arrests per year. In terms of quotas, writing a ticket for a broken taillight carries the same weight as an arrest for armed robbery.

Failure to meet the quotas results in an automatic 90-day probationary period with no pay raise and a possible demotion or dismissal if ticket or arrest numbers aren’t immediately raised to acceptable levels. Vacation time, extended leave or military duty doesn’t reduce the quota, union officials said — patrol officers still are required to meet the annual ticket or arrest numbers, meaning they must write more tickets when they return to the streets to compensate for their time away.

Falls Church officials defended the two-year-old practice, saying the approximately 10,000 city residents wanted aggressive traffic enforcement across their 2.2 square miles. The city’s main streets and neighborhoods often are used as “cut-throughs” because they are near two Metro stops, Interstate 66 and the Seven Corners Shopping Center. Police Chief Robert T. Murray said the city does not have much serious crime, and “all of the officers know that traffic is a big issue with the community.”

Murray said the quotas are relaxed for officers who take vacation or leave, but union officials said that was false. The union cited numerous examples — including officers who had been injured, on pregnancy leave, even on temporary Marine duty — who were ordered to reach their annual numbers or face disciplinary action and little or no pay raise.

Murray said police established the quotas “to show what the officer’s doing, to make sure their time is accounted for.” He said that officers should have little trouble writing three tickets in a 12-hour shift, particularly on such heavily traveled streets as Broad Street (Route 7) and Lee Highway, and that he has received no complaints from citizens.

Mayor Dan Gardner agreed and said, “I’m quite pleased with the performance of our police across the board.”

Most area police departments said they do not use ticket or arrest quotas to evaluate an officer’s productivity. The use of ticket quotas was largely discarded by police commanders in the 1980s because it was seen as an inaccurate way to measure an officer’s performance and as an incentive that distracted officers from doing more important work.

Falls Church police union officials said the quota policy discourages patrol officers from such measures as following a weaving, and possibly drunk, driver when they can spot a car with a burned-out headlight. A DWI arrest takes a minimum of four hours to process, but carries no more value at raise — and promotion — time than a 10-minute headlight ticket, Rhodes said.

Officer Markus Bristol, vice president of the police union, said, “It’s just sickening to me. I deal with the general public; the vast majority are hard-working.” Bristol said he wanted to spend more time establishing contacts with the growing Latino community, “but I’ve got to get out there and write those tickets.”

Chuck Wexler, executive director of Police Executive Research Forum, a Washington company that consults with police departments nationwide, said, “There’s increased emphasis [among police] on collecting data to measure performance,” driven by improvements in technology and creative uses of that technology.

“But there’s a fine line,” Wexler added, “between legitimate reasons for gathering information to measure performance and establishing arbitrary quotas, which pretty much have not been used for some time.”

In Baltimore, sergeants in one district recently ordered their officers to make two arrests per week and established other weekly performance quotas. When the quotas were made public last month, police commanders and the mayor immediately ordered them eliminated.
“You cannot measure workload by any single number,” Fairfax City Police Chief Richard Rappoport said, “because the job is just too varied for these kind of simplistic measures.”

Rappoport faces many of the same traffic issues as Murray in Falls Church — his city is six square miles and has little serious crime. Fairfax City urges its patrol officers to write an average of 1 1/2 tickets per day, or 28 a month, but Rappoport said that was “a pretty soft target.”

Rappoport said if the quota is set “too high, you force people to play a game,” and then officers would be staked out with radar guns only on the main thoroughfares. Instead, Fairfax City officers are assigned to park or patrol slowly in neighborhoods, which might not result in many tickets, but generates many compliments from residents.

Rappoport and Vienna Police Chief Robert A. Carlisle said they analyze other performance aspects, su
ch as how many accidents officers worked, how many field contacts they developed, how many investigations they handled and how much self-initiated activity they were responsible for.

“I wouldn’t expect two to three tickets a day,” said Carlisle, whose officers patrol 4.4 square miles. “And if they did extremely well in other areas, they would get a good evaluation.”

Murray noted that Falls Church officers are evaluated on various tasks, not just traffic enforcement. “It’s one of five areas they’re being evaluated on,” Murray said, “to address a concern that is major to the citizens.”

In each of five evaluation areas, Falls Church employees receive ratings from “exceeds expectations” down to “below expectations.” The lowest rating in any area automatically places an employee in a Performance Improvement Plan, delaying any possible raise; all raises are tied to overall ratings.

“They’ve set an unattainable standard,” Rhodes said. “A single ‘BE,’ which has predominantly been in the numbers category, has been bringing all the officers down.”

Union leaders have raised the issue with police commanders, saying that not only are the goals difficult to reach — a middle rating of “Meets expectations” requires at least 500 tickets or arrests in a year, and a top rating requires 600 — but they affect the quality of police work. They said their alternate proposals were rejected.

Murray said that “many officers had no trouble meeting or exceeding” the quotas.

Dionne C. Williams, a Falls Church spokeswoman, said that because traffic is the community’s chief concern, focusing on traffic enforcement is part of community policing.

Staff writers David Snyder and Del Quentin Wilbur contributed to this report.

The debate is ongoing. Police management needs a way to guage an officer’s performance yet aren’t allowed to impose quotas. To skirt this term, they use productivity standards. Enforcement or regulation on police departments’ use of quotas/productivity standards is very loose. The feds have more important fish to fry and, thus, the controversy among officers and their departments continues.

There was definite controversy at Northlake PD regarding this issue. Officers were suspended for not meeting productivity standards after being warned that they weren’t meeting them. I will attach a copy of the standards that were in place at that time in the near future so you can decide what you think.
More to come….

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,
Previous Post

She did it!

Next Post

Play with Kids! Drive the Yellow Car!


    • Anonymous
    • July 28, 2008

    Have the money go to the state not the city.
    I’m sure the standard will be less enforced (can of corn)

    White Sox

    • Anonymous
    • July 28, 2008

    Off Topic somewhat:
    Here is a standard of sorts. The Supreme court ruled that even changing someones shift because they were involved in countering a wrongful act can be considered retaliation.
    The courts have fallen on the side of the workers, not the employers.

    Signed: Not everyone is stupid and does not know how to deal with Northlake.

    • Anonymous
    • July 28, 2008

    That sounds fine and dandy. My schedule was shifted around,etc….. As was others. I was union prez and Northlake still got away with it. They continue to do what they want, etc…. The wimps in the know are too afraid to do the right thing.
    Hopefully, you are right.
    Do you currently work there?

    • Anonymous
    • July 29, 2008

    1) Do not resign
    2) FOP sucks
    3) Take the matter to courts outside Northlake
    4) Get the Teamsters
    5) Fight fire with fire
    6) Fight or flight human nature. Always fight.
    7)Education in the laws outside of Northlake’s rule.
    8) Lawyers lawyers lawyers
    9) Get a good doctor god knows we all need one working at this place.
    10) Team is the most difficult one here and should be #1.
    11) lets not give Northlake information on past or present employees.
    Stay tuned

    • Anonymous
    • July 29, 2008

    Dennis look up
    625ILCS 5/6-911
    625 ILCS 5/6-910
    You can not give your world famous black dots for this.

    Movie W coming soon

    • Anonymous
    • July 29, 2008

    I would like to add another standard to this topic:
    Chicago police Second City Cop blog. Now that department is together. About 90% of the responses are against Jody Weis and the Mayor.

    • Anonymous
    • July 31, 2008


    You should of sued Northlake in Federal court for a civil rights violation. If the rumor is true and everyone can be subpoenaed.
    Dennis attempted to influence another jurisdiction against you.
    There are endless cases in your favor. Now thats an embarrassment to the department. How can everybody be wrong except this jagoff. Just look at the turnover in Northlake and his record at Grayslake PD.


    • Anonymous
    • July 31, 2008

    SGT test

    Take the matter to Federal court restricting Patronage.
    The FOP is not tough enough to deal with this Dictator.
    Chicago Police have filed suit for their lieutenant’s exam.
    Signed not scared of anyone.

    • Anonymous
    • August 1, 2008

    No shows at a hearing don’t help. Lets stick together!!!!

    • Anonymous
    • August 1, 2008

    Fairness Standard:
    City of Madison
    March 31, 2006
    Police Chief Noble Wray
    Police Officer Michael Grogan
    At issue: Cooperation with internal investigations
    Chief wanted 5 day suspension
    Police Board gave 3 days
    Northlake would off given 100 black dots or termination.
    Northlake fair with issues like false reports etc.

    Stay tuned fair and balanced like fox

    • Anonymous
    • August 1, 2008

    If a police officer writes a false report not only is that termination but states attorneys file charges as well. If that is true My god batman.

    White Shirt

    • Anonymous
    • August 1, 2008

    Cincinnati Police
    Sgt. Eric Schneider twice was declared unfit to be a Cincinnati Police Officer.
    He was accused of charging the city $2,200 for hours he didn’t work.
    In December 07 he allowed Officers he supervised to goof off while on duty.
    Both times he got his job back.
    Source Cincinnati .com June 29, 2008
    Do not resign at all costs.


    • Anonymous
    • August 2, 2008

    Precedent: Holy radar trailer batman.
    Imagine if Koletsos fired someone for standards.


    Off topic somewhat:

    Fired to Rehired June 29,2008
    Two Officers drove a drunken women home and had sex with her while on duty. Both Officers were fired then rehired.


    • Anonymous
    • August 2, 2008

    The above blog two officers driving drunk women home are Cincinnati Police officers.

    Be safe

    • Anonymous
    • August 5, 2008

    Rumor is attorney Murphey the asshole,jagoff,shit for brains, prick not married mother fucker set the standard.

    • Anonymous
    • August 15, 2008

    Rumor or truth

    Some officers did not make standards for months.
    No punishment

    While other officers get black dots for missing .15 cops.

    McCain for President

    • Anonymous
    • January 16, 2009

    These “performance standards” are nothing but a floating-quota at best and should be eliminated on a nation-wide scale. It does nothing more than pinch officers into tossing reasonable discretion in favor of heavy-handed, revenue-producing fascist tactics. My department has been using the same kind of tactics and if you watch closely, you can see a direct correlation between tight city budgets and the degree to which these “performance standards” are enforced. It’s about money — nothing but money. All fines should be donated to profit-free charities. You’d see the performance standards change awfully damned fast.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *