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LA Officers Awarded Millions in Traffic Ticket Scandal

LA Officers Awarded Millions in Traffic Ticket Scandal

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Associated Press

April 13, 2011

LOS ANGELES – Two police officers who claimed they faced retaliation for complaining about an alleged quota system for traffic tickets have been awarded more than $2 million.

A Los Angeles Superior Court jury on Monday agreed that the city should pay $1.12 million to retired officer Howard Chan and $950,000 to David Benioff, who’s still on the force.

Both sued the Police Department in 2009 alleging that their captain at the city’s Westside traffic division required each motorcycle officer to write 18 tickets per shift for speeding, running red lights and other offenses that could each generate several hundred dollars for the city.

Chan claimed that after he complained about being criticized for not writing enough tickets, he was reassigned to patrol a high-crime area. Benioff alleged that after refusing to honor the quota, he was assigned to work a late shift.

During trial, Chan and Benioff testified that they were assigned to specific streets rather than regular traffic patrols to increase their ticket output.

“Quotas are a direct violation of the vehicle code and this case was about these officers being asked to break the law,” Benioff’s attorney, Gregory Smith, told the Los Angeles Times.

During trial, attorneys for the city denied that any ticket quota existed and argued that the department had broad goals for reducing injuries and fatalities on the road.

A spokesman for the city attorney’s office said the department was reviewing the jury’s decision and weighing its options.


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  • Photo_user_blank_big

    Silent_Observer

    over 3 years ago

    446 Comments

    Quotas, and defacto quotas are an insult to society. They reduce peace officers to armed toll trolls. I'm glad to see a couple officers had the integrity and backbone to stand up for their oath and not just kiss the captain's brown spot. Wish there were a lot more like them.

    I've always wanted to see a law stating that no traffic citation can be valid unless the officer can articulate an actual safety concern that was a direct result of the violation. Then maybe less officers could be assigned to tax collection duties.

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    GodblessTexas

    over 3 years ago

    156 Comments

    I'm ALWAYS for working instead of sitting somewhere, BUT I have to add that putting a "quota" to any work load will result in civil liability. You can evaluate an individual by comparing the work statistics of the other officers in that area or office, but to say "you must produce at least 18 tickets a day" will end result in what this story says, a law suit.

  • U

    WarPig

    over 3 years ago

    144 Comments

    18 cites a day is not unreasonable in a metro area for a traffic officer. I regularly write around 25. Its a motivational issue. I would rather work than, sit drinking coffee and shooting the breeze. But that's just me.

  • Vpsomourningband_max50

    DonnaLynn

    over 3 years ago

    10636 Comments

    pcekpr962, since you know the entire story and we don't, we can only comment on what is presented.

  • Vpsomourningband_max50

    DonnaLynn

    over 3 years ago

    10636 Comments

    I am against any monetary compensation for these officers. Yeah, they were moved to less than desirable locals... how many of us worked in areas we didn't like? The vast majority is my answer. These officers were not fired, so where is the compensation justified?

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    John887

    over 3 years ago

    18 Comments

    They aren't the only ones with illegal quotas:

    http://www.insideline.com/car-news/ticket-quotas-true-fact-says-new-york-times.html

    A half a MILLION people are rousted around for this BS each year!!

    And then we have the Chicago cop on video beating a bartender...who gets a suspended sentence.

    Then we have the Ohio cops in Stark County:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o5hf-aDEAr8

    Then we have the Louisiana Cops abusing people:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DKnYzhzUcuw

    The Supreme Court will decide later this year if America becomes a permanent police state...let them know a police state is UNACCEPTABLE!
    The Supreme Court is located across from the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington, D.C.
    The Justices do not have e-mail addresses, but you can write to them at:
    Justice (or Chief Justice) (Justice's Full Name)
    Supreme Court of the United States
    One First Street N.E.
    Washington, DC 20543

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    stanhan1

    over 3 years ago

    10 Comments

    Congrats guys! It's ab out time a Patrol Officer is treated fairly by the courts; especially since both officers were marked for "pay-back" by their Commanding Officer(s) , and those guys should pay!

  • Az_phx_motorcade1a_max50

    Bury

    over 3 years ago

    1342 Comments

    BUMP to pcekpr962!!

  • Adp_max50

    Perl

    over 3 years ago

    1498 Comments

    Cha-ching! Quotas, AKA "productivity". Enjoy retirement guys! Rapid-LAPiD ~

  • Lpd2_max50

    master_sgt

    over 3 years ago

    76 Comments

    it just sounds like a couple of lazy cops..... they r in a traffic divison. so, enforce traffic laws. and its not a quota.... every officer should have a JOB EXPECTATION...... or thats what my chief calls it. just suck it up and write tickets and do the job of a traffic cop. if u dont like it transfer to another divison, or turn in ur badge and gun, there are many people out there that will do ur job and not bitch about it.

  • 1051193310_l_max50

    95Zcar

    over 3 years ago

    3992 Comments

    I've spent 21 years explaining there is no such thing as quotas then this shows up!

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    salarson272

    over 3 years ago

    18 Comments

    18 violations is alot. I know on a good day if thats all I'm doing I can get a fair amount of people. That's looking for them too. But if nothing is going around, thats when you start getting the cops that will pull you over for 3 over the limit and thats just lame to everyone.

  • 1979_max50

    Robocop33

    over 3 years ago

    14642 Comments

    This is pretty damn stupid. The Captain knows quotas are illegal and why just as many of my brothers here have pointed out. Still you do need a certain level of activity that you can document that proves you are doing your job as well. Ours was very low as we were expected to average somewhere around 5 tickets a day over a months time, more or less. You could do that with your eyes shut. Still it was not a quota per se as there was no requirement to write a certain number in a day's time. Just an overall average.
    Still, there should have been no money awarded to these officers. The Captain should have either been demoted or fired. Someone could have dropped a dime on the Captain about this and the problem would have been solved right then instead of this black eye.

  • Segway-police-unit-china_max50

    foxblood

    over 3 years ago

    396 Comments

    What happens when policing works and people don’t break the law? If there’s a quota and law enforcement is working.. then there’s a requirement to make stuff up and harass the public. That’s why quotas are illegal. Some times you have to think like a civilian.

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    radarcop

    over 3 years ago

    254 Comments

    I must say I was pleasantly surprised at some of the remarks - if you don't want to write tickets then why are you a traffic cop - a supervisor has to write an evaluations of an officer every year and performance is part of that evaluation - you can't expect to be in Traffic section and just beable to ride your motor around all day - but you also can't set a number - is there more to this? If the officer was on the warrant squad and had not served a number of warrants on a shift for a period of time wouldn't they be transferred?

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