WUSA 9: Memo Reveals ACPD Ticket ‘Quota’

by ARLnow.com March 20, 2012 at 12:21 am 18,329 179 Comments

A memo sent to Arlington County police officers earlier this month appears to outline a quota system for traffic tickets, arrests and parking citations, according to a report from television station WUSA 9.

Though the memo says “there is not, nor has there ever been a quota for traffic enforcement,” it goes on to list “monthly proactivity expectations,” complete with a set number of traffic summons and a maximum percentage of warnings.

ARLnow.com obtained a copy of the memo from a police officer who expressed surprise that the department would issue such an obviously controversial directive. The memo itself was authored by two patrol commanders, both captains.

In a statement issued to WUSA, Arlington County Police spokesman Dustin Sternbeck said the memo “serves as a guideline for Operations Division personnel and will not be considered a quota for enforcement.”

  • JohnB

    Is this how they plan to keep operating with less and less officers, up the expectations of how many tickets they write? Pay less officers + write more tickets = better margins for Arlington County!

    • JohnB

      Stop using my name!

      • D'oh!

        Both of you stop!

  • Celeste

    This is just becoming downright silly now. Do they think we’re stupid? Guideline? Quota? I’m sure if these divisions fail to continually meet these “guidelines” there will be corrective action taken.

    This should be a totally separate conversation on the pros and cons of quotas. Instead, it should be about how ACPD is using semantics to get around a policy that they say they don’t abide by with clear evidence to the contrary.

  • brendan

    Several states have outlawed this but as far as i know, Virginia has not. No idea about County law. Anyone?

    A few years ago Falls Church PD got entangled in this mess…And Baltimore had some backlash when they required officers to make at least two arrests per week. I think citizen complaints managed to revise both those policies but… Regardless of the legality and disclaimer — this does put pressure on officers to make arrests and write tickets, if only to meet their “proactivity” numbers and avoid disciplinary proceedings. Sucks for the people who get hauled in during a slow month when they otherwise would get a citation or warning.

    • namerequired

      that’s because virginia (more specifically northern virginia) is a piece of s— state that gouges people for money.

  • brendan

    additionally the Information Officer’s statement “that memo was just a guideline and will not be considered a quota for enforcement.” is pretty dubious when the memo includes a direct threat of discipline.

    • Celeste


    • Chris Walker


  • Jason S.

    Notably absent:
    Assist a resident or county guest in need.

    For all the people around here humping ACPD’s legs, it’s pretty obvious you’re fools. It’s a tax agency first and foremost.

    • drax


      1. Go find out how much the ACPD spends each year.
      2. Go find out how much the ACPD obtains in fines each year.
      3. Compare.
      4. Post both numbers for us to see.

      Until you do that, you’re just another self-assured Internet poster, to be polite about it.

      • Brian

        Well, if you know the answer, why don’t you post it?? Thanks

  • Zoning Victim

    Well, since proactivity means to act in advance of a future situation, does that mean the ACPD is supposed to arrest people before they’ve done anything wrong, like Minority Report?

    The easiest thing to arrest people for if an officer’s not-a-quota hasn’t been met is drunk in public, which requires no proof of drunkenness like a DUI does. Running low on your quota? Just walk into any bar, find a group of people laughing loudly and carrying on while drinking beer and arrest them; problem solved.

    The ACPD claims that the reason we have so few homicides (none for two years straight) and solve the ones we do have is because of community cooperation. One sure way to stop that it to start arresting people needlessly because of some stupid quota.

    These quotas do shed some interesting light on things, though, like the fact that an officer working the midnight shift is only expected to make one DUI arrest a month and none of the other shifts are expected to make any.

  • yup

    this does irritate me a bit. The quota system would completly undermine an officer using his or her discretion with regard to certain situations. They might be forced to give out a ticket or summons because of said quota, vs, letting the person off like they would normal do for something stupid.

    That could really sour some people’s trust with the ACPD.

    • Daniel

      It does allow for an officer to let 25% offenders go with just a warning.

      • Jim

        That’s a Max of 25%. In other words, for every 1 warning they give, they have to ticket and fine 3 other people.

  • ballston

    A quota by any other name is still a quota.

  • Quincy

    Maybe this explains the 7 mph over speeding ticket I got a couple weeks ago. 32 in a 25….

    • Whatever

      But you were speeding, right?

      • CrystalMikey


      • HayCaramba

        I have first hand knowledge that SOP for at least 1 of our neighboring jurisdiction states that speeding in excess below 10mph should be let go with a warning unless other circumstances bla bla bla.. (aka you’re being douche).

        this is to avoid overwhelming the court system with people trying to throw out 7mph tickets with pick your best excuse.

        which leads to why some jurisdictions opt for speed cameras.

    • Brendan

      Quincy you fool. 7 mph over is….. wait for it ….. speeding. The general rule of thumb is at most 5 over anyway. And even then, if the cop was feeling like a stickler, he could still give you a ticket.

      • JohnB

        Especially in a 25. I could see 7-10 over in a 35, but in a 25 you’re asking for it.

      • ArlingTony

        Yes, 7 mph is over, but that seems like a case of enforcing the letter of the law and missing the spirit of the law and that’s what a quota system, even one by another name, encourges. Tickets for 7 mph speeding, parking tickets issued because you parked on a street cleaning day, got out, saw the sign, and immediately moved your car (happened to a friend. They said, “The cop was walking down the street and saw you stop and a stop is a stop.”), or any other infraction that is small but lets them increase the quantity of tickets and fines.

        I’d rather have a police force, and I can’t help but imagine the cops themselves would rather be, doing more than sitting on Wilson waiting for some guy’s meter to tick down so that the second it hits 00:00 he can write a ticket, check another fine off, and get a gold star back at the station.

        • ArlingTony

          I should note the parking fine my friend got was not in Arlington. Never had an issue with Arlington parking police…yet.

        • Zoning Victim

          There is a huge difference in survivability for peds/cyclists between 25 mph and 32 mph; just something to think about when you’re trying to justify doing 7-10 over the limit.

          I do understand your point, though. I retuned to my vehicle in Arlington about five years ago and still had 1.5 minutes on the meter and a parking ticket on the windshield. I was really PO’ed; it costs me a lot more than the ticket to miss work so I can show up to court and fight it.

          • ArlingTony

            Yes, I get your point too on survivability. A 25 mph zone is usually for a reason too, like a school or heavily residential area, so I see there might be logic to enforcing there vs. 7 over in a 50 mph area.

          • mb520

            Usually a reason? Why is Washington blvd between 50 and pershing 35mph? near the fort 45mph? Why is rt110 – 45mph? All ridiculously low speed limits with >90% of cars traveling 10mph over the limit (without incident). APD likes to occasionally have officers with no reflective gear step out into traffic and hand out 3-4 tickets at a time on those roads. Compare VA road limits to other states and it’s laughable. They keep limits low to generate revenue.

          • Bandersnatch

            Also think of “MPH over” in relative terms- 7 over at 55 is ~13%; 7 over at 25 is 28%- twice as egregious.

            “10 over” seems to be a bit of a rule of thumb on the hwy where speeds are 55- that’s 18%- apply that to 25 MPH and you get a zone of indifference of under 5 MPH

    • drax

      No, speeding explains your speeding ticket.

      • Whatever

        Exactly. I regularly speed because I’m always in a hurry, and if I get a ticket going a few miles over the limit, well, that’s my tough luck.

    • truth be told

      Start whining if you are 2 or 3 mph over…..

    • JamesE

      32 in a 25? Think about the children!!!!! You could have been a murderer!!! I have never in my entire life gone even 1 mph above the limit.

  • Mapchick

    This might also explain why a few years ago I was issued 2 parking tickets for the same violation within less than an hour. I thought it was pretty suspect that the first ticket was crumpled up and shoved down under my hood such as to hide it.

    • Scene

      Officer Garden: Think you gon’ get away with it? Not up in here!
      Officer Franklin: NOT up in here!

  • CrystalMikey

    Easy solution here…don’t break the law when driving/parking and you shouldn’t have anything to worry about. Key word: shouldn’t

    • Swag

      Two words: Disorderly Conduct.

      Pretty much a catch-all.

    • DSS10

      Not unless the officer is not meeting his “guidelines” for tickets.

      • Arly

        How would an officer give you a ticket if you weren’t speeding or parked illegally?

        • Daniel

          HOV violation, reckless driving, failure to obey a traffic sign / stoplight, texting while driving, not wearing seatbelts, expired tags, lack of safety inspection…etc.

          • jjarl

            And if you weren’t at fault, how would you be getting a ticket?

          • SomeGuy

            Because the burden of proof tends to be on the accused in small civil matters like this.

        • DSS10

          They make it up. If you have any african american friends, I suggest you talk with them about this subject.

        • CW

          The same way he would if you WERE doing those things…tell you he saw you speeding or parked illegally, then write it on a piece of paper…

          • DSS10

            And that is why this memo is a problem because it has introduced an element of doubt as to the judgement and fairness of the police.

          • (another) Greg


          • SomeGuy

            I’ve always had a respectful skepticism of authority, as I think everyone should. This memo increases that skepticism.

          • Boom! Roasted

            Someone gets it.

    • Arly

      Exactly. If you aren’t doing anything wrong, you don’t have anything to worry about.

      • True

        Uh, actually not exactly. In a jurisdiction WITHOUT a ticket quota, if you are doing nothing wrong you have nothing to worry about. The quota means that officers are pressured to write an arbitrary number of tickets which could lead them to write them for those who are not in violation of anything or for those falling into gray areas where judgement of the officer is normally necessary. Interesting how your comment missed the entire point of this thread. Seriously. The entire point.

        • Josh S

          Always willing to take the other side –

          Actually, I think you can read that comment as being in the spirit of the thread. Because if the quotas are for traffic tickets, I don’t think that APD would ever need to make up violations. Just pick an intersection / stretch of road and wait. Might make for a boring shift, but given the high level of traffic around here and how many people are pretty sloppy about obeying the law and you should make your quotas fairly easily. No need to make up violations.

      • Josh S

        I guess most people only have so much room in their mind for worries. Which is understandable.

        However, the history of police worldwide shows that it’s not as simple as “If you aren’t doing anything wrong, you don’t have anything to worry about”, especially, as some have pointed out, if you are “different.”

        That being said, I am not aware of Arlington police harrassing people with false arrests, etc. But it’s certainly possible.

      • Zoning Victim

        Right, just like that kid in the video from UM who was beaten by the MD police for nothing…. He has absolutely nothing to worry about because he was doing nothing wrong.

      • Boom! Roasted


        People who abuse authority absolutely love your take on things.

    • Wiz

      Easy answer.
      Officer short on his quota: You were going 27 in a 25 zone.
      Wiz: No I wasn’t.
      Officer: Tell it to the judge. Here’s your ticket.

  • Hitdahighway

    Wow…makes you question the PD leadership. I feel sorry for the average street cop…how are they supposed to meet the quota, oh wait “guideline” numbers when Arlington has so little crime? I would say this could lead to pressure to make unfair or even bogus arrests, especially if the officer doesn’t want to be reprimanded or passed up for promotion.

    • Hitdahighway

      This really could be a legal nightmare.


      The leadership in the ACPD is in just word “sucks” I feel sorry for the tax paying public. The officers who would make good supervisor don’t want the job because of all this B-S. It might be time for a change of the top level supervisors at the department.

      • JohnB

        I hope grammar and spelling aren’t on the supervisor test.

        • nom de guerre

          I enjoyed JohnB’s comment.

          • Josh S

            Having seen the one that was deleted, I find this amusing.

            Yes, he comes across as petty and puerile by making these unnecessary comments about grammar and spelling.

  • Ballstonienne

    I’ll take the minority position here. I see the memo as a way to make sure the officers keep to their duty when they are not on any specific assignment, and to maintain consistency across the board for enforcing violations. I say this because I have seen cops fail to notice or take action when a violations happens right in front of them.

    Nothing major, it could be somebody rolling a stop sign, or one time I saw a cop behind a truck that did not have working brake lights and he just turned off and let the truck go. Watch the police when you are out, and pay attention to things going on around them. Granted, these types of things are not major threats to the peace, but I would rather the officers be consistent and attentive to everything in the law. Instead, I think there is a lot of driving around when dispatch does not know where they are and they just figure they can “let stuff go”.

    • chipotle_addict

      I agree with your sentiment that cops should enforce the law consistently, I disagree that this quote encourages that.

      I’d expect a cop to be very rigorous about enforcing the law while trying to meet the quota, and once it is met he can be more lenient.

      I really don’t see any favorable arguments for the quota.

    • Manassasian

      Ballstonienne, I agree with you. I’m not a police officer, but the numbers in the memo don’t seem especially high to me, at least not in terms of traffic. Sorry, everyone, I don’t know about arresting people.

      I do know, though, that you can’t manage what you can’t measure. It’s common in any organization to set standards for performance. Yes, “quotas” can lead to end-of-the-month ticket-writing to ensure that you’re not questioned but, again, are the printed standards something that is pretty readily achievable and normal for the course of business?

      Or perhaps I should ask, How does everyone else on here manage expectations of your employees? Or how are you managed? Are you held to expectations?

      • Ballstonienne

        Yeah it is a very tricky situation. If Officer Barbrady records no arrests for the month, how in the world do you evaluate his job performance? He could very well claim there was no crime on his shifts to take action on, but the memo seems to be saying that statistically, that is hard to believe.

        One of the unfortunate possible effects of this though is the end-of-month ticket spree. If you give the officers numbers and a time frame I guess it is human nature for some to procrastinate. The can ride easy for the first three weeks and then hit the numbers in the last week of the month. That is just the reality of dealing with different types of people.

        • SomeGuy

          So… are you reversing your minority argument since you recognize why this is potentially stupid?

      • jan

        I’ll wager these guidelines were issued in writing as a legal requirement to stand behind disciplining slackers.

        How many times have you gone by a crimes scene with a dozen cops hanging out chatting? I worry that they’re leaving other parts of the county unprotected.

      • Josh S

        Similar to grading teachers on the test scores of their students – many, many factors outside the police officer / teacher’s control that would contribute to the performance standard.

        Besides, this would be a poor performance standard since it just counts actions, not outcomes. The police department should theoretically be happy with zero tickets written – this would be a safe and crime-free community, which is what their goal is, isn’t it?

        • Ballstonienne

          Having a goal of zero crime is noble, but they have absolutely no control over that. No internal policy or performance goal or quota will effect the decision of a criminal to commit an act.

          This policy seems to be a reflection of the reality of crime in Arlington, and maybe a reaction to some disparity within the ranks of performance statistics. Remember the police can only take the initial action, the outcome is decided by the magistrates or courts. Police should not be taking multiple potential outcomes into account.

          • Josh S

            Yes, it’s very tricky to come up with good performance indicators for an agency like the police. But number of tickets written is clearly not a good one.

          • Ballstonienne

            Number of tickets may not be ideal (and the memo deals with more than just writing tickets, lets be honest here). But if you have a baseline of long term data, and you have a few points (representing specific people) that lie way, way outside of the baseline, I think that is something they would not be able to ignore.

          • DCBuff

            If the baseline is established through a quota, then it is artificial and doesn’t provided real data. Then, using a false baseline, the whole thing just gets perpetuated by a quota.

  • Mr. Atown

    The cancer known as the ACPD really needs new management. Unbelievable.

    • KalashniKEV

      A total culture change is needed. The leadership is failing. All of the senior leadership should be sent to Obama’s unemployment line and mid level leadership should get a hard look. It’s not the fault of the individual officers that they are managed in this way.

      It’s time to clean house.

      • drax

        Bush’s unemployment line, you mean.

        You don’t get one inch of leeway.

  • G Clifford Prout

    That must explain why the speed limit on Columbia Pike goes from 30 mph where there are businesses, residents, pedestrians, crosswalks etc., to 25 mph by Washington Blvd and the Pentagon where there are no residents, a cemetery, freeway on-ramps, freeway off-ramps, wide open spaces AND a great place for the police to hide under the bridge and shoot radar. Designed to help fill the “proactivity expectations to meet minimum standards.” And on another note, do people really talk like that?

    • CrystalMikey

      Ahhh…but there is heavy pedestrian traffic for the Air Force Memorial (and used to be a ton for the Navy Annex). So I say 25 works in that general area.

      • G Clifford Prout

        I’m talkin past Joyce St.

        • Josh S

          I believe the speed limit is 30mph starting around the hotel. I just saw a new speed limit sign near there (westbound) that says 30.

          I always assumed it was 25 because of pedestrian traffic and the sweeping bending turns at the hill.

          • WeiQiang

            It was still 25 by the Navy Annex last night.

            Whoever was referring to “past Joyce St.” … that’s one block ending in a T at the Pentagon pkg lot. Curious.

          • Josh S


          • Quincy

            that’s where I got my 32 in a 25…. Officer standing under the overpass with a radar gun.

          • Lies

            Quincy is lying. ACPD has a policy prohibiting tickets for less than 10 over except school zones. Help this discussion with facts, not fiction.

    • Justme

      No the PD doesn’t determine speed limits. County department of planning and transportation.

      • nom de guerre

        Sorry, this department does not exist within the County.

        • Justme

          It is under the Department of Environmental Services, Transportation.

          • bob

            …and many of the roads you all are bitching about are VDOT controlled roads, with state-determined speed limits. Until very recently, Columbia Pike was also a VDOT road.

  • Frank

    Could be an indirect way to encourage all officers to boost the ACPD statistics to show that, well, more officers are necessary. It’s easier to point to statistics to show that staffing levels should be increased, especially when crime has been dropping overall.

    As an added bonus, maybe more people going the wrong way through the do-not-enters at Fillmore & 10th and Franklin & Highland will be ticketed.

  • Quoth the Raven

    I would bet that the police, just like every other gov’t entity, is faced with the reality of needing to justify their budget and manpower. So, especially in a low-crime area like Arlington, how do the police make the case that they need X number of officers? I’m certainly not crazy about quotas, and I’m not saying there is no other way to do this. But I think leadership over there is trying to solve the difficult problem of justifying their existence. The alternative, of course, is to start laying folks off. And I doubt they want to do that.

    • Autoexec.bat

      Summer is almost here, which means bank robbery season is kicking off. They should setup some sort of protection racket for every bank branch in Arlington County and watch the money roll in.

  • DSS10

    I guess if you received a ticket after March 1st then this is your “get out of jail free” card. The police chief should be fired, not only for pressuring officers to possibly subvert their authority by issuing tickets on the basis of “guidelines” but also for having the inept professional legal and professional skills to call in to question the integrity of the county police force. I’m not from here but in a lot of parts of the country he would not have his job by close of business today.

    • Narlington

      I think i saw an ad for a defense attorney on ArlNow.

      • No Bike

        I take it the officer either arrested you or gave you a ticket.

  • Zelora

    This could get nasty. Both the parking tickets I’ve (ever) gotten in D.C. were issued when I was legally parked. I formally protested both of them, and had super evidence, but was made to pay anyway.
    Let’s hope it never gets that bad in Arlington, if it isn’t already.

    • Josh S

      Contesting a parking ticket in Arlington is so cumbersome that it is not worth it.

      • DCBuff

        That, in part, I believe is the point. ArlCo has made it so difficult to contest a ticket (one used to be able to go in and talk it over w/a police officer; no more) precisely because the county is not interested in justice, but rather revenue. Which is the point, at least in good part, of the non-quota quota memo. This is a county run by greedly politicians and their cadre that seek more money, all the time, regardless of real need. The homeowner, taxpayer, driver, whomever are just ATMs. Very similar to WDC. Zelora’s experience is shared by many.

  • KalashniKEV

    This is exactly what I keep posting about- this numbers based, don’t trust the officers discretion, behind-the-glass approach to “police work” NEEDS to be replaced with a Community Policing Strategy.


    You will see less tickets, less revenue for the county, and we will all be safer. Yes, I said less PROFIT for Arlington County.

    A perfect analogy would be the Robert McNamara numbers based Vietnam War approach vs. Petraeus’ Counterinsurgency strategy. Get out of the cruiser and play “Who are the people in your neighborhood?”

    • CW

      I agree 100%.

      The irony, if you want to call it that, is that the police get better results AND the citizens feel more comfortable with and less threatened by police presence. Which fits pretty well with how Arlington wants to project itself as a place to live.

      • KalashniKEV

        That runs directly in conflict with the county board’s tax-drunk desire for ever increasing revenues and more funds to pursue their personal desires.

        – THAT’S the leadership that REALLY needs to be changed.

      • GC2

        As long as we are setting quotas, can we set a quota that at least 50% of the tickets must be from persons not residing in Arlington? Or at least charge out-of-Arlington people more for the same crime (saracastic reference to VA’s higher moving violation fines a few years back).

        • WeiQiang

          Oh my gosh … March/April/May is PERFECT to ticket all the tourists who can’t possibly understand how to navigate eastern ArlCo without making numerous illegal turns or unsafe stops.

          I wish ArlCo could police the grey area where GW Pkwy and Wash Blvd come together. All the crazies who line the side of the road between 5:30 and 6:00pm waiting for HOV lanes to open.

          We could pay for that trolley in NO time.

    • JamesE

      That leaves no money for the artisphere.

    • Tabs

      I also agree with kev. First time ever.

      • KalashniKEV

        You didn’t agree the first 400x I posted about adopting a community policing strategy focused on crime prevention, rather than a behind-the-glass approach designed around revenue enforcement???

  • DSS10

    An Arlington County Police Force Question:

    Is the Arlington County Police Force unionized?

    If they were, the Union should have stopped this in its tracks.

    • Autoexec.bat

      Yeah, let’s have a Unionized Police Force to argue over every little change to work rules. That’ll improve things.

      • DSS10

        You have to balance it out with; crap like this happening, people getting physically hurt, and screwed over when the executives Fnck up. I have managed a union work force and have been a union member so I know both sides. From your comment I can tell you have done neither.

        • Autoexec.bat

          So you’re pro-union and I am not. Great. No doubt the union would’ve squashed this proposal, but they cops obviously did that themselves by leaking this memo to WUSA9. So does Arlington County PD need a union? Seems like a pretty cushy job as police work goes, doesn’t it? Or are we trying to turn into Montgomery County here?

          • Josh S

            What makes you think that anything has been squashed? I imagine that brass will make noises condemning the practice, insisting it doesn’t happen, etc. But actually do away with traffic ticket quotas? Won’t happen.

          • Autoexec.bat

            But the police always swore they never existed. So which is it?

          • DSS10

            The question is if a officer can and will loose his job by not meeting “guidelines” for issuing tickets as documented in the memo.

            You can have all of the quotas you like but if the terms of employment does not include meeting ticketing guide lines then it is meaningless.

          • Josh S

            This is the rub, isn’t it? If you can actually get fired based on nothing more than not meeting the guidelines, that certainly raises the significance quite a bit. Which is why I think the police department will say these guidelines are nothing to worry about. They’ll say you can’t get fiired for not meeting them. Meanwhile, internally, folks will know that not meeting your guidelines is not a good idea – you’ll get passed over for promotions, it will be a ding on your annual review, etc. But you can’t get fired unless there are other factors.

          • chipotle_addict

            Meaningless? There ways to punish poor behavior other than firing.

            Oh, you don’t meet the non-quota? Desk job for you for 3 months, and we’ll see if you can meet it when you get another chance in a cruiser.

          • DSS10

            I did not say that I was for or against Unions. I dislike seniority rules but think that senior managers (which is where I am at now) are often times are not accountable for their actions and if they screw up they fire a bunch of people and get a raise. The best union system is the european works council model which makes every one vested in the financial and operational success of the company.

            As to a police force needing a union, contrary to your belief that it is a “cushy job” it is a very hard job to do and do well. As a Police officer there is a distinct possibility that you will be assaulted in every interaction you will have with the public and sometimes there is physical altercations that can and will injure you. In the performance of your job you will expose your self to legal jeopardy from racial discrimination to excessive force. Upper management need a mechanism to ensure support for good police officers who are injured or or under litigation while being able to clean out the bad apples.

      • KalashniKEV

        Government employees should not be allowed to form a union simply because the government can not “go out of business.”

        • drax

          That’s ridiculous, Kev.

    • Hitdahighway

      VA is a right to work state…unions of any kind have no real power.

      • Suburban Not Urban

        That’s just not true – I worked in a union manufacturing facility and we had strikes. Unions just don’t have the same leverage over their members as in non-right to work states, but they can be just as difficult to deal with if the culture is to go along with them.

      • drax

        Once again…

        Unions have as much legal authority in a right-to-work state as any other. The only difference is they can’t require workers represented by a union at an employer to join the union or pay a fee to the union. This weakens unions a bit, but that’s the only difference. Unions are mostly governed by federal law, which allows for collective bargaining, strikes, etc.

        State and local workers, however, may be barred from collective bargaining in some states, including Virginia.

    • Virginian

      Virginia is a right to work state. so while there is a Union per se, they have little power.

      • drax

        See my reply above please. Unions have plenty of power in Virginia, at least in the private sector. Not as much as in other states, but they’re hardly “weak.”

  • CW

    What’s the over/under on comments on this thread? I say 200, but would probably bet “under” because this is not particularly controversial..it’s just plain wrong…

    How about the over/under on time for a second official response? Either a statement from Nosel V2.0 or an Arlington PIO post on this thread? I say 2 PM, but bet over because they might just try to sweep this one under the rug.

  • JamesE

    How about they start enforcing car property tax instead of caring if someone is going 60 in a 55.

    • CW

      Yeah seriously; PPT on one of the brand new Maryland Audis in my garage = like 10 speeding tickets.

    • John K.

      I’m pretty sure they’re looking at car tax stickers when they do revenue patrol for the cars exiting 50 to the TR Bridge. Now, there’s an activity that makes me feel safer!! I guess it’s not making enough revenue, though.

      Seriously, if they need to bump up their arrest counts, just hang out by Four Mile Run and Columbia Pike (and under the bridge). There’s enough public drinking to notch up your numbers.

    • bob

      So you want them to enforce that, whilst KalishKev and others bitch that ACPD enforcing such things is the core of the problem… It is a no-win for the officers in the court of public opinion… and we wonder why few people want to do the job(!)..

  • Brian K

    Does anyone know if this is found to be a quote – which I believe to be illegal – if recent tickets (even if already paid) can be thrown out?

    I said it in another post, they seem to have really ramped up speed enfrocment lately .. maybe this is why

    • Tackleberry

      I certainly hope not. If you broke the law you should pay.

      • Brian K

        I agree, but if the cops broke the law, they should too

    • bob

      QUOTAS (not “quote[s]” are not illegal in VA. They are in MD.

      So try to obey the traffic laws, Brian K.. because your hope for magical get-out-of-jail-free card is lost..

  • Josh S

    I couldn’t understand any outrage over this at all. Of course there are quotas.
    Now, should there be quotas? Probably not. But their existence should not come as a surprise to anyone, nor should the attempts to use bureaucratic language to obfuscate their existence.

    • DSS10

      But what if the officer on the overnight shift has only issues 13 summons for the month and has used up his all of his warning and is behind you 45 min before his shift ends?

      • Josh S

        What if? Quota or no quota, I expect to get a ticket if I do something wrong. So I slow down to exactly the speed limit like everyone else does, make sure to use my signals if I turn or change lanes, and go on my way.

        • DSS10

          What about the police officer who looses his job or does not get a needed raise, or a promotion if he does not issue you a ticket. What is he says that he observed you at 7mph over the limit and writes you a ticket even though “you could have sworn that you were not speeding?”

        • chipotle_addict

          It sounds like you are saying you only obey the speed limit when a cop is behind you.

    • Autoexec.bat

      I think a big part of the issue is the police-can-do-no-wrong crowd swears up and down that there is no quota, never has been and never will be.

      Except that there is.

  • Justme

    This is nothing new to ACPD, these “expectations” have been around for decades. On one hand, it does make the officers responsible to perform. Without it can you evaluate their job? Bear with me, if you have no “expectations” you could have a whole police force who does nothing. Obviously, that is an extreme. Secondly, it does support a good argument for questionable arrests and traffic citations, just to impress the administration. This makes for poor police work and questionable discretion.

    What is VERY clear here, the management at the top needs a major overhaul. Poor, poor leadership will “sink” a ship.

  • NoVapologist

    Considering the blatant disregard for traffic that goes on in this county every day, a quota should be extremely easy to fill.

    It’s funny – people on here routinely complain that ACPD doesn’t do enough enforcement. Now they complain that there will be too much.

    • SomeGuy

      It’s not true enforcement that people are complaining about here. It’s the pressure to possibly find “criminals” among the innocent in order to meet performance metrics.

      • FrenchyB

        To put this in perspective – the monthly ‘guideline’ for the evening shift is 30 Traffic Summons. Even if an officer is working just 15 days a month, that’s just two tickets per shift. You really don’t have to stretch any boundaries to find two moving violations over the course of several hours.

        • Josh S


        • SomeGuy

          Are you suggesting that officers couldn’t feel pressure to bend the rules at the end of a quota time window? For example, to achieve that one DUI per month, an officer would never ever claim to have seen a swerve when there wasn’t one, or perhaps say a driver failed a field sobriety test when he didn’t?

          You’re probably right. I’m sure that car salesmen never embellish (lie) to close a sale at the end of their quota timeframe either.

    • Suburban Not Urban

      Thats my take too. Moving around Arlington I see more ignored violations that you can shake a stick at. I would think they could meet a quota in a couple of days if they wanted to. So I see this as a stick to prod the slackers – so Arl residents get more bang for the policing buck.

  • nom de guerre

    BREAKING NEWS-just received this alert.


    Chief of Police M. Douglas Scott will hold a press conference this morning to address a March 1, 2012 Arlington County Police Department memorandum, titled “Proactivity expectations 2012,” that has been brought to public attention.


    • CW

      Good thing I didn’t put money on my 2PM “over” guess.

      • G Clifford Prout

        Do we get a non-denial denial? I really want to see hear if he talks is this corporate America business gibberish they used in the memo.

        • nom de guerre

          I’m guessing that in addition to crafting a carefully worded response they are “counseling” the 2 captains whose names appear on this memo (they may or may not be the actual authors) and investigating the source who leaked this memo to the press. All hands on deck!

  • Becoming indifferent

    I got a parking ticket last week, just minutes after my two hours expired in a two hour zone. Never had a ticket that quickly after the expiration time. Now I know why.

    As long as ACPD is consistent with their enforcement of parking and traffic rules, I think more of us would satisfied.

    Just another reason to hate Arlington

    • Josh S

      Talk about mistaking correlation for causation.

    • drax

      How long should you get away with parking illegaly, BI? Ten minutes? 20? Then let’s just add that amount to all the meters.

      You were parked illegally. You inconvenienced someone else who needed to park legally. Grow up and take responsibility.

  • WeiQiang

    Anecdotal input:

    A friend lives behind Station 5 of the ACFD and had a “For Sale” sign in a car parked in front of his house. He got a ticket – from an ACPD officer – for “Auto Bazaar”.

    I thought he was joking, then: http://www.arlingtonva.us/NewsReleases/Scripts/ViewDetail.asp?Index=701

    I never knew this … and is kind of an obscure regulation. Sounds like a ‘warning’ offense to me.

  • DreamO’s

    If they sit out in front of Clarendon Ballroom & Spider Kellys on a Thurs – Saturday night at 2am, they will fill there QUOTA quick!!

    • Ooops!!

      I had an early happy hour on Wednesday last week at Liberty Tavern. I parked in front of Spider Kelly’s and paid my meter up to the required 6p. I decided to walk home afterwards and get my car in the morning. I did NOT notice the late night “no parking” because of that side of the street becomes a “Taxi Stand” from 11p-3a parking sign. Yes…I got a $50 ticket…I have 10 days to pay or $75.

      • bob

        So how is that anything other than an example of your failure to read, comprehend, and obey a simple parking sign? The issuing officer should have gone to your house and tried to coax you into moving your car first? Get a grip and accept responsibility..

  • G Clifford Prout

    I also find it interesting that when crime rates go down officials always claim it’s because of great policing. When crime goes up it’s always because of external factors (hot summer, bad economy etc.)

  • duke

    It would appear from the Police Dept. memo that the guidelines listed are already being met and that no officers are complaining about them. The numbers listed is what offices are currently doing month to month. So as a supervisor you now have a bench mark of performance your officers can and should being doing each month. However, when their tied up on lengthy arrests, reports, court time, going below the mark is explainable.

    Now when you have an officer that just riders around waiting to be dispatched to a call and does nothing in-between like his job, how can you measure his performance? How can you evaluate or take action against the officer without some type of expectations of his performance? Hmm, let’s look at what other officers on his shift are already doing without hesitation, without question, without crying. It is obvious that there are a number of dip sh!t$ here who are not the boss or supervisor at their work or think you can do the job of the officers on the streets, and there are some officers here who just need to do their JOB!

  • TheLiberator

    I have lived in the orange crush corridor for on 20+ years . First time I went to get the new drivers license and registration, having never been in the area before, I was lost and got in a speed trap down by Four Mile Run. 33 in a 25, or something like that. I took the ticket to a coworker whose spouse was a patrol officer with ACPD. He told me —

    1. They have quotas
    2. They get extra bonus pay for the tix
    3. The officer who got me makes $20K extra off of his speed traps

    This all sounds as if no-thing has changed much

  • ConstantCritic

    I would hate to drive a vehicle in Arlington today with WUSA on the side!

  • SArlingtonResident

    This policy is a severe blow to what Arlington should represent to the world.

    I realize that the “quota” is now characterized as merely a “guideline.” But as a former criminal defense attorney and judge, I can tell you that an ARREST numerical guideline is dangerous, wrongheaded and almost certainly unfair.

    In today’s world an arrest brings far reaching consequences. In addition to being traumatic and expensive (posting bond, etc.) the arrest is on one’s record forever even if the charge is dismissed.

    The traffic ticket quotas are bad enough, but an arrest quota or guideline is exponentially worse. Not only does it encourage unnecessary arrests (the processing of which is not free of costs to the County, by the way) it disproportionately affects minority and poor communities. In attempting to meet a quota an officer is far more likely to arrest a person without the means to vigorously contest the charge than an equally (or even more culpable) person of means. This is true for all arrests but the added pressure of an expectation to meet numerical goals exacerbates the problem. Instead of focusing on making a good case the officer is under pressure to simply meet a numerical goal.

    I hope the County Board will make clear to the police chief in no uncertain terms that arrest quotas are wrong (even when characterized as mere guidelines) and have no place in our community.

    • DSS10

      The Chief should be out the door today for gross negligence. The quota’s sighted in the memo for not just for parking tickets but for DWI’s, and arrests (felonies). I’m thinking about filing a FOIA request for fun (not that they would release information voluntarily.

      • WeiQiang

        BWAAHAHAHAH … FOIA in the state of Virginia??? Gooood luck with that. The families of police shootings gone bad [OK, bad shootings] in Fairfax County can tell you how likely you are to get data from the police.

        The lack of transparency in VA is criminal. Ironical, eh?

  • Joe

    This type of memorandum happens when you think your police force is lazy. Problem is, why WOULD YOU NOT think they are lazy?

    See the myriad bank robberies last year in broad daylight–clearly the multiple perpetrators see the rank-and-file officers as lazy.

    See the multiple reports of people pulling traffic infractions in front of officers chatting with each other.

    And of course, see the “due diligence” employed by rank-and-file Arlington Police Officers in 2010 when seeking an outfit to collect signatures in support of the effort to change the County’s form of government. Of course, we know now that multiple people were convicted of commiting fraud in the collection of said signatures while working under the employ of Signature Masters.

    The President of the Arlington Coalition of Police, Lt. Ken Dennis, gave comments to ArlNow that indicate a lack of basic curiosity on the part of a trained law enforcement professional. If Lt. Dennis had used his trained investigative skills to google on “Signature Masters” and “National Solutions” for 10 minutes, he would have uncovered stories about their activities in Colorado. Instead, we heard the following:

    “That would be a shock to me,” said police union president Ken Dennis, upon learning of Simmons’ criminal background last night. “We just hired a company that had good references… I’m disappointed that they had this person on their staff.”

    Alas, with friends, er, police officers like these, who needs…well, you know.

    • DSS10

      A good police force has nothing to due with the number of arrests, in fact some of the best police forces will have very few arrests because they suppress crime by their presence as opposed to only being visible when writing a ticket or making an arrest (this is the British model). Other times when you have an area where there is high crime they should make a lot of just and reasonable arrests so that in the future the criminal element will leave and there will be lower crime rates (Operation pressure point NYCPD ~1985-88). The end result is that the police should ensure a safe community which is one where there is little or no crime.

      • Jason S.

        That sounds like getting out of the car and waddling around a bit. There is no way ACPD is going for that.

  • WeiQiang

    The point is that quotas/guidelines are a lagging indicator of police effectiveness. I want to the see the ACPD initiative that shows leading-indicator police activity.

    “Proactivity” sounds like something I should do for my intestinal health.

  • MoonshineDelight

    Defense Lawyers will have a field day with this one.. Citizens are being systematically hunted down by the Arlington Staatspolizei who are blood thirsty for revenue and afraid of losing stripes on their shoulder. Watch your back at the end of every month, because if your local patrol officer is light on numbers, he’ll be on the prowl cracking heads. Hey, if it’s between nailing you with a trumped up charge or scoring poorly on a performance appraisal for light revenueing you can bet they’ll be throwing the book at citizens. Hey, they got mortgage payments and kids tuition to make like the rest of us.. Protect and Serve or Patrol & Control?

  • WIllow Nero

    If you’re really interested in changing the backwards types of policies that created police quotas in quiet communities like Arlington, stand up for the public’s right to know. In Virginia, police must release very few documents about their activities and even your activities! Most states allow an arrestee to access his own police records, but Virginia police eschew the public’s right to be a check and balance on their government.

    Contact state senator John Edwards ([email protected]) and voice your support for his Sunshine Bill (http://www.roanoke.com/editorials/commentary/wb/305941). And make sure your local representatives (http://legis.virginia.gov/1_cit_guide/contacting_my.html) in the Virginia legislature hear about it, too! The police’s business is the public’s business.

  • David Bain

    There is a straightforward solution to this entire problem, a solution that will make ACPD a trend-setter and leader among jurisdictions. I will gladly explain if someone from the County Board or ACPD reads this and cares to ask.

  • Mb520

    Raise speed limits to something reasonable! Follow the 85th percentile rule. (and make the slow pokes of VA pay attention and drive assertively for once!)

  • Reality Check

    So are they really trying to make us believe that telling officers they are expected to write 28 tickets a month is somehow.. NOT… a quota??

    A quota is the very idea of mandating how many tickets an officer must write each month!!

    Officers who are short for the month may turn a blind eye on a disabled motorist or other citizen in need of help unless there is a ticket in it for him. All in fear that he will get in trouble unless he can “justify” why his numbers are low at the end of the month.

    Good supervisors know their staff and do not need to see totals at the end of the month to decide if an officer is working or not.

    Supervisors today are too busy generating performance evaluations and compiling arrest stats for the commander to even pay attention to what the officers are doing on the street. So they really need to see these totals. Any current or former cop that thinks otherwise is in denial.

  • David Eisen

    According to the SMP (http://www.arlingtonva.us/departments/police/documents/2010-2015_SMP_%20Master.pdf.pdf), the Arlington County Police Department has 367 Police Officers. Lets assume that each of the categories of shifts (Day Shifts, Evening Shifts, and Midnight Shifts) all have the equivalent number of officers assigned to them (122 Officers).

    The most astonishing of these numbers is:

    If Arlington cops, only gave tickets to Arlington residents, the average resident is expected to receive a ticket roughly once every 2 years.
    If Arlington cops, only gave arrested to Arlington residents, the average resident is expected to receive a ticket roughly once every 9 years.
    If Arlington cops, only gave parking tickets to Arlington residents, the average resident is es expected to receive a ticket roughly once every 5.5 years.

    Here is how the numbers break down:

    Arrests (Per Month)
    367 Day Shift
    856.3333333 Night Shift
    856.3333333 Midnight Shift
    2079.666667 Total Per Month

    Field Observation Reports (Per Month)
    367 Day Shift
    611.6666667 Night Shift
    367 Midnight Shift
    1345.666667 Total Per Month

    Traffic Summons (Per Month)
    2569 Day Shift
    856.3333333 Day Shift Warnings
    2752.5 Night Shift
    917.5 Night Shift Warnings
    1468 Midnight Shift
    489.3333333 Midnight Shift Warnings
    9052.666667 Total Per Month

    DUIs (Per Month)
    0 Day Shift
    0 Night Shift
    122.3333333 Midnight Shift

    Parking Citations (Per Month)
    1835 Day Shift
    611.6666667 Night Shift
    611.6666667 Midnight Shift
    3058.333333 Total Per Month

    Arlington County Residents
    211,400 Total Residents
    11.81% Arrests Per Year Ratio to Average Resident
    7.64% Field Observation Reports Per Year Ratio to Average Resident
    51.39% Traffic Summons Per Year Ratio to Average Resident
    0.69% DUIs Per Year Ratio to Average Resident
    17.36% Parking Citations Per Year Ratio to Average Resident

    Now it makes sense why I see at least 3 people a day pulled over on 110. One of those days I was the lucky one!

  • -Police Chief for 15yrs in 3 different Departments
    -first time seeing it…..really
    -back in the day activity is not like it is today
    -stated: “if I only have 10 I better get out there and get the other 15 so I don’t get in trouble” what do you call this..
    -quotas have been around for years, just called key elements
    -numbers are checked at the end of the month from individual officers Monthly Activity Report (MIR’s) that they turn in..
    -if average nubers are not met it WILL reflect on your yearly evaluation
    -maybe is time for UPPER management to give up their part time job outside of the department and spend more time on their full time job

  • Don

    The Chief’s “Spin” on the memo is a classic example of what he does best– he twists words so badly that it is impossible to make any sense of what he has said. This is the same spin that is put on police accounts of any altercation that might raise questions about police actions. Never say you may have made a mistake. Never even say you are going to look into those actions. There are many actions by individual officers in Arlington and all over the country that are admirable and sometimes courageous. But this defensive “don’t you dare criticize me” approach to anything considered by a thin-skinned Chief to be critical is really pretty disgusting — and not at all courageous. Until there is a bit more openness and self-effacement, the police should stop complaining about the gap between themselves and law-abiding civilians.

  • Whatever

    15+ years in Arlington, not a single traffic or parking ticket. And no, I’m not Car-free Matt.

  • Jim

    That’s a Max of 25%. In other words, for every 1 warning they give, they have to ticket and fine 3 other people.

  • Frenchy

    As of today my household has received 20 DMV demerits running errands through Arlington in the last two years. Three 45mph in 30mph zone, one failure to stop at a stop sign in a traffic circle and commutting thorugh a neighborhood because they trunked the main road putting a park on it so the heavy spending liberal donors have less traffic. Today, the game has chnaged even more, not only did my wife get a 45mph in a 30mph but pig added an additionall $200 fine for an arbitrary “speeding in residential neighborhood”. It is ironic too as I saw an Arlington County cop this morning turn left across a double line to go to the bank. My wife and I were almost killed when a pig raced over 100mph down the Glebe Road/Route 50 ramp as he was late for rolll call. Well, thats what the Sgt said when we called to complain. I had my airconditioner stolen from my home and the pig said he has nothing to go on. I found a spoon and heroin needle down the street and the pig just opted to run the tags of my car. Arlington County cops suck. Arlington County sucks as they turn their repression inward on the people they work for. F Arlington! Do yourself a favor and move to Fairfax County, really.


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