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Two cops sue City of Richardson over alleged illegal ticket quota

In March 2022, police officers Kayla Walker and David Conklin sued the city of Richardson and senior police officials, alleging the police department illegally used quotas to assess and discipline patrol officers. Now, new evidence has surfaced to support their claims.

According to Walker, after her complaints to her superiors and the Texas Ranger were not heard, she went public. At a city council meeting on April 19, 2021, she said: “Patrollers are being threatened with penalties for not writing enough tickets, arresting enough people and making enough contact with citizens.” According to his statement, this was done by comparing monthly agent productivity reports.

In the state of Texas, it is illegal to use quotas to promote, compensate, or discipline officers because it encourages officers to make traffic stops or arrests even when they are unwarranted. As Scott Henson, author of the “Grits for Breakfast” blog and executive director of Just Liberty, a 501(c)4 focused on justice reform in Texas, told The Dallas Morning News, “The idea of ​​a quota goes against the idea that the police react to crime. Instead, it causes them to fabricate offenses.

In Walker’s statement at the city council meeting, she claimed that supervisors might use different words for quota, such as averages and productivity. “Some officers were actually given specific numbers for arrests and citations to produce each month so they didn’t get in trouble,” she added. “That’s the definition of an illegal quota.” And later, when the law firm’s investigation came out, she provided the proof.

At a follow-up council meeting, City Manager Dan Johnson said an investigation had been carried out after Walker raised concerns. “This review will involve outside legal counsel and it will be conducted in an orderly and expeditious manner,” he said.

The city hired an outside law firm to conduct the investigation, which in July 2021 delivered a six-page report stating that despite “a small undercurrent of dissatisfaction within the Department regarding the use of statistical figures” to evaluate agent performance. “We did not discern that there was a legitimate sense among these patrollers that the Department was dictating ticket quotas in violation of state law,” the report said. “We also haven’t seen any evidence that this is happening.”

Investigative journalist for The Dallas Morning News Dave Lieber writes that he found evidence to support Walker’s claims. Nearly a year later, Lieber acquired more emails through open records requests, adding weight to Walker’s claims.

As The Dallas Morning News reported in August 2021, in addition to Walker, two other agents received memos from their supervisor urging them to meet monthly expectations. “You must maintain an average of three stops per day,” the supervisor wrote to one of the officers. “If you fail to meet this expectation each month, you will be subject to a performance plan which may include disciplinary action for dereliction of duty and loss of your ability to work part-time.” Later, the same officer received another warning: “If your numbers don’t improve…you’re in danger.

Police Chief Gary L. Tittle, who became chief in June 2021, told the WFAA that following the investigation, new policies would be in place to “create clear guidelines to dispel any false impression” regarding the department’s expectations of agent performance. . One such policy is to reinforce, through command staff, the department’s position that no quota is required and to standardize all productivity reports that supervisors “must use when evaluating performance of patrollers.

As of this writing, Walker and Conklin are on leave and their attorney, Eric N. Roberson, wrote in the lawsuit that since the two officers went public they have faced “increasing harassment.” [and] unlawful reprisals” within the department. Local profile contacted the city of Richardson and the police department, but did not hear back before publication.

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