Washington City police subject to monthly point system; quota?

Washington City Police patrol car, stock image | Photo by Kimberly Scott, St. George News

WASHINGTON CITY – An internal document outlining a point system for Washington City police officers is being characterized as a management tool that enhances the officers’ career development. But the system looks a lot like a quota requirement.

Point system measurements imposed upon police officers in correlation to the number of tickets they write or arrests they make have long been called “quotas” but agencies tend to decry the name “quotas” and are reluctant to publicize the practice.

(report continues below image)

Excerpt from Key Performance Indicators, Washington City Police Department | Screenshot Image by St. George News

 

Quotas are controversial because they raise public suspicion that law enforcement officers will dole out tickets by compulsion, for career advancement perhaps, and to meet budget needs of their city or state employers.

Both the systems and the names given those systems are subjects of argument and denial.

St. George News obtained a document and Public Information Officer Ed Kantor said by way of authentication that it was produced by Washington City Police Department’s case department management. The document, attached here, sets forth Washington City Police Department Key Performance Indicators.

Washington City P.D.’s Key Performance Indicators policy in summary

The Washington P.D. document sets forth a point system by which officers accrue points for specific actions:

– 25 points for self-initiated department programs / processes / procedures.

– 10 points for DUI arrests.

– 6 points for other arrests.

– 5 points for self-initiated public presentations.

– 3 points for traffic and misdemeanor citations.

– ½ point for written warning citations.

And the list goes on.

The policy sets minimum monthly point accrual requirements for Washington City’s police officers and suggests goals within several of the point-earning items. It enumerates evaluation categories in areas of policy, customer service and leadership. And it defines an accountability process through which officers meet monthly with their sergeants for performance evaluations predicated upon their point accrual and a series of remedial actions that may be taken should an officer flag in logging sufficient number of points. Remedies include discussion and counseling, written documented warning to increase performance and corrective action plan to deal with recurring issues.

Washington P.D.’s comment on its policy

The policy was developed for enhanced employee career development, Kantor said, with two main goals: (1) To measure an employee’s performance fairly and accurately through a process, to be able to be consistent through evaluation period to evaluation period with consistency, and (2) to supply the highest level of customer service possible to the citizens of Washington City.

“And employees have to have a measure,” Kantor said, “it’s hard to do in law enforcement. These measures are ways to help an employee be successful; rather than just say ‘you never do anything, you’re fired,’ there has to be a process whereby supervisors and managers can help improve the career performance of employees.”

The policy provides the employee an opportunity to excel in law enforcement in areas in which they excel most, Kantor said. For example, if they don’t like writing traffic citations but they like making arrests, it helps them focus on where they want to go in their career, do they want to go into investigations? On the other hand, the system might show that an officer excels in writing citations and that might serve to encourage the officer to apply for a position in traffic division.

City of St. George Police Department’s comment on the point system policy

St. George Police Department’s Deputy Chief Richard Farnsworth said that St. George P.D. has nothing in the way of Washington City’s point system, as it was briefly described to him.

“We have an evaluation system but to put a standard of x number of citations, no,” he said.

St. George has ways to track statistics overall – to keep crime statistics, to rate officers – but, Farnsworth said, “no structure that regulates performance. We have no quota system, no reports system. We do not have a system where we assign points.

Quota or performance rating systems link to revenues

Point assignment systems suggest quotas and quotas suggest a correlation between the acts and the revenue – whether or not the policymaker calls it a quota.

In 2000, Utah’s Division of Wildlife Resources cooperated in a pilot “Performance Informed Budget,” a term the legislative committee decided on after debating other names for the pilot program such as “Performance Based Budget” and “Results Based Budgeting.” The Executive Summary of the report on that program includes the following statement:

“By whatever name, performance budgeting links appropriations to outcomes through the use of performance information in budget decision-making and the inclusion of performance indicators in the budget document.”

The DWR is a state agency that raises revenue through its own state police power and through less offense-oriented measures like application fees for hunting and fishing licenses. The 2000 report is detailed, itemizing, for example, application fees collected for a particular hunt over and above the number of licenses it allots to be issued for that hunt.

Whether it is the citing or arresting or licensing agency itself that draws the connection, or the state or city management under which it serves, traffic tickets, fines, application fees for hunting licenses, and the like all build revenue for the city or state. Is it likely that none of the powers that be are mindful of the connection or the tool that a performance measuring system offers in addressing budget issues?

The executive summary of the 2000 DWR pilot Performance Informed Budget spoke directly on what it appraised as an advantage: “In the future it is hoped there will be better linkage of budget recommendations to outcome measures, more performance targets, and more time to focus on outcomes.”

A connection between Washington’s Key Performance Indicators and revenue goals was not something that Kantor would allow. He said, “the fines are levied by the courts, not the police. … To say that it is a budget line item doesn’t make any sense. We have nothing to do with the fines levied, amounts collected or how they are distributed.”

Similarly, St. George P.D.’s Farnsworth said, “Where we use the justice department, the Police Department does not see a return. Any revenue goes to the city. It comes to the city’s general fund. I can say our administration of this Police Department would not encourage enforcement for revenue.”

Both Washington’s Kantor and St. George’s Farnsworth agreed that officers should not be concerned with revenue building:

“The police are there to enforce the law,” Kantor said.

“None of those should be in the equation,” Farnsworth said, law enforcement “should not be based on economic factors; the right thing to do has to be in the interest of justice.”

Will Utah lawmakers intervene?

Concerns about quotas in law enforcement and the potential for negative consequences to the public by virtue of their connection to revenue building have led state representatives to entertain multiple bills over the years.

Introduced in 2000, 2007, 2008 and 2009, each of the separate bills sought essentially “to prohibit state and local governmental entities and law enforcement agencies from requiring or directing that their law enforcement officers issue within any specified time period a specific number of citations, complaints, or warning notices …”

Most of the bills failed in House committee or in the House, but one passed to the Senate in 2008, where it too failed and was returned to the House file. In other words, the bill was dead.

Fiscal notes by the Legislative Fiscal Analyst largely appraised the bills to have no direct, measurable costs to the local governments – which analysis may rebut arguments that quotas drive revenues and budgets drive quotas.

Except that, in 2007, the analysts’ fiscal note stated: “Any local entities currently using a quota system could see a reduction in the number of citations and related revenues.” Same office, why the difference in fiscal note?

It may be because at that time, Ogden Police Department was receiving attention for its implementation of a quota system – or “standard” as its then Police Chief Jon Greiner said he preferred to call it.

According to a report by Cathy McKitrick published in The Salt Lake Tribune July 1, 2006, citation writing was one of several criteria then factored into pay raises for Ogden’s officers, and scoring points on performance evaluations was necessary to receiving pay increases.

Greiner opposed the succession of House Bills introduced by then House representative, Neil Hansen – representing Ogden – as did other police chiefs throughout the state, according to a report by Geoffrey Fattah, Deseret News, January 2007.

No similar bills have been introduced in Utah since the 2009 bill failed.

Email: jkuzmanic@stgnews.com

Twitter: @JoyceKuzmanic

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2013, all rights reserved.

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19 Comments

  • John Mackey January 8, 2013 at 8:27 am

    I think it’s great that they’re still using points in this profession. Throughout my educational career in Kindergarten through 12th grade and in college, I accumulated well over 100,000 points, one of my proudest accomplishments in life, but was disappointed to learn in my first job as a medical researcher that I would no longer be rewarded points for my work, just a measly paycheck. Boy do I miss getting points.

    • Zeke January 8, 2013 at 10:12 am

      You only have 100,000 point so far? I think your usefulness as a citizen needs to be re-evaluated ASAP.

  • Former STG Police Dept Employee January 8, 2013 at 10:27 am

    Saint George Police had a point system when I was working there. Don’t let them lie through their teeth and say they don’t. Quotas or point systems promote two things revenue and Police that misuse their authority to get promotions.

    • j January 8, 2013 at 8:42 pm

      Greetings. I happen to know this person is being dishonest.

      • Former STG Police Dept Employee January 9, 2013 at 9:49 am

        If they’ve changed their ways I’d like to see it in writing. I worked there in 1984 to 1986 and a point quota system was in place at that time. I seriously doubt much has changed.

        • Fred Masters January 9, 2013 at 4:16 pm

          That is a laugh, I am sure there has been a lot of change in 30 years. Talking about lying through your teeth. You only worked there two years, did you get fired? Is that why your bashing them? I smell a motive with your old, miss guided, and uninformed bashing.

          • Former STG Police Dept Employee January 10, 2013 at 9:52 am

            No I didn’t get fired, I quit for a better paying job. You are the one that is bashing me for stating the truth.

    • Jason Schatz January 8, 2013 at 9:25 pm

      Former STG PD Employee. I would love to hear about your experience at SG PD. If you are willing to talk please give me a call. Jason Schatz, Attorney at Law 801-548-0041

    • Joyce Kuzmanic Joyce Kuzmanic January 9, 2013 at 3:51 pm

      Editor’s Note: The report of St. George News on this subject is on present day practice unless otherwise indicated.

      In a subsequent comment by “Former STG Police Dept Employee” he/she said “I worked there in 1984 to 1986 and a point quota system was in place at that time.”

      On inquiry to St. George Police Deputy Chief Richard Farnsworth, he said he was in high school in 1984 and considered that “Former STG Police Dept Employee”‘s information might explain tickets he received during Spring Break in St. George. On a more serious note, he also said, “That was also four police chiefs ago. What was going on in 1984 is no reflection of what is happening now. I have been employed by SGPD since 1992 and at no time during my employment have we had a ‘quota’ or an evaluation system based on points for citations or arrests.”

      May the conversation continue,

      St. George News | STGnews.com
      Joyce Kuzmanic
      Editor-in-Chief

  • D. Rex January 8, 2013 at 10:33 am

    St George Police could make a fortune in points and money by issuing citations to motorists for blocking intersections. The worst places are eastbound on St George Blvd, the intersections from 700E to 1100E, northbound on Bluff Street (intersections 100S & Tabernacle) and southbound on River Road, intersections from 900S, 1050S and even Riverside Dr. I wish the police would issue citations to those morons who block the intersection, preventing anyone else from turning onto or off of those intersections.

  • Curtis January 8, 2013 at 12:02 pm

    I cannot believe there is a police force in the US of more than ten officers that don’t have some kind of rating system that involves quota or points or some other objective measurement

    • Retired Trooper January 8, 2013 at 3:39 pm

      Over ten years ago the Utah Highway Patrol made it a priority that there not be a rating system that involves quota. At first it was pushed against by Supervisors that thought was earlier to rate by numbers and not actions. You’ll never hear of the Patrol Trooper having to write for numbers and that why it has Professional working for it.

  • Former LEO January 8, 2013 at 12:24 pm

    The SGPD does not have a point system or quotas… What they do have is a strong suggestion that officers in certain positions write a “certain” amount of citations, make a “certain” amount of arrests, etc. Ask any of their motorcycle officers if they have to write a “certain” amount of citations to keep their position on the motorcycle. Ask any patrol officer if they are chastised or get poor “evaluations” for low numbers of citations and arrests… Ask former motorcycle officers why they are former motorcycle officers. Check the bookings to see how often shoplifting (a B misdemeanor) is booked into jail by WCPD as opposed to SGPD. That would be because WCPD gets points for a custody arrest whereas the citation arrest is enough for a “stat” at SGPD. The list goes on…

  • DoubleTap January 8, 2013 at 2:34 pm

    If Washington City Police is going to implement this “quota” system, may I make a recommendation…..? From 4 PM to about 6PM station yourselves anywhere near Buena Vista and Green Springs intersection and you will have the opportunity to amass considerable amounts of “points” every weekday. This particular intersection would be a haven for on-duty police officers to issue vast amounts of traffic citations and may even include a few “texting while driving” and DUI arrests. The City of Washington will be promoting you young patrolmen by the dozens.

  • john bocchetti January 8, 2013 at 10:20 pm

    I spent last winter in St. George and witnessed the fascist tactics of the SGTPD, while eating breakfast I witness two officer questioning anyone with a packback. Dressed in their military swat atire, just acting like Nazi storm troopers. I live in San Francisco where the police are civilized and professional. And deal with real criminals, SGPD needs to get off this hyper-enforcement fetish..

  • Critical Thinker January 8, 2013 at 10:56 pm

    Do you think reporters are evaluated on the number or types of articles they write regardless of their motives behind the story? Measuring productivity is something I expect in government… or any business for that matter.

  • Dan Lester January 9, 2013 at 9:04 am

    Yes, productivity is measured in all businesses. And whether you like to think of it that way or not, government and non-profits ARE businesses, just a different type. They still have to balance their books, do as much as possible with limited resources, and do their best to satisfy their “customers”, you and me. As a “customer” (citizen, driver, etc) I want them to stop as many criminals, drunk drivers, reckless drivers, careless drivers, texting drivers, etc, etc as possible.

    Whether it is “fair” or not, there will always be a certain amount of “profiling” of people. And within limits it is totally appropriate and necessary. Like any tool, it can be used appropriately or not.

    I appreciate the good work of the local police, sheriff, state police, and so forth. I’m glad it is not me stopping a car on the interstate and not knowing whether the driver will decide it is time to blow away a cop. Good work, officers.

    • Panda January 9, 2013 at 9:45 am

      So you are okay with a Washington Sheriff who hits a 7 year old child for calling his mom on a cell phone when he got scared because the officer profiled his grandfather and assumed he was illegal because he was hispanic and so handcuffed his grandfather and threw him to the ground based on a profile that was wrong. The grandparents are here legally and the only reason they were pulled over was a profile and a 7 year old that decided to change seats while the car was moving. Officers should keep the peace not push confrontations and hit scared 7 year old children.

  • Sean January 10, 2013 at 9:14 am

    When did our ‘peace officers’ become “police officers’?
    I have foolishly believed that the officers were there to remind good citizens that there is a better way to conduct ourselves under the rule of law. Instead their administration forces them to look at all of us as criminals and arbitrarily choosing some of us to pay our dues to the system.

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