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Do Police Officers Have DUI Quotas?

For a long time, people have thought (or assumed) police officers have quotas for the number of speeding tickets and DUI arrests they must make. Recently, some stories have surfaced, which pointedly blame quotas for police officers’ behaviors as they relate to tickets and arrests. In reality, it’s important to remember that you can’t believe everything you read online. In California, for example, quotas for DUI arrests are against the law.

Why Do People Think Police Officers Have DUI Quotas?

Since so many people think quotas are a real thing, it seems like there must be something behind the rumors. In actuality, although quotas are against the law in many cities around the country, many police jurisdictions use a technique called “shift averaging”.

Shift averaging is essentially a work-around, as far as the law is concerned. In California, officers are explicitly banned from adhering to ticket quotas, but some supervisors and agencies utilize a metric system, whereby they tally the number of DUI arrests handed out by teams of officers on various shifts. The average calculation then serves as a baseline standard for the agency, and officers who fail to meet or exceed the average are punished.

In other words, there is no quota, per se; however, the workaround created by certain police enforcement agencies lend themselves to unscrupulous behavior at times, as a result of officers trying to meet or exceed their agencies’ average ticket and arrest records.

Is the Law on Your Side When It Comes to a DUI?

If you think “shift averaging” is a way around quotas, you’re not alone. Not too long ago, a group of Whittier, CA police officers took this subject to a judge, citing retaliation and unreasonable behavior when they weren’t able to meet their shift averages.

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In other words, they weren’t meeting their quotas because they were only citing citizens who were acting unlawfully. By definition, these officers were doing exactly what they were supposed to be doing. They were “under-performing” by their districts’ standards because their leaders had imposed standards that couldn’t be met unless the officers deliver extensive numbers of citations and arrests.

The officers involved in this situation followed suit. They filed a claim, stating they’d been subjected to any number of negative circumstances in the workplace, including retaliation such as negative permanent reviews, threat of demotion, negative references for future jobs, ordered counseling, denial of sick time, and—above all else—denial to investigate the officers’ claims further.

The officers who brought suit were essentially whistleblowers. While the state of California has whistleblower protections in place, the grounds can, at times, be hard to prove. In this case, the judge found in the plaintiffs’ favor, citing the fact that unjust employment metrics can have a negative impact on the public at large.

Long story short, the law is on your side, but it’s up to you to stay with in the boundaries.

While there is a law prohibiting ticket quotas, it’s clear that some form of quota system is still being used in many departments. Be safe on the road, don’t drink and drive, and if you have an incident with officers, call DUI attorney Jon Artz if you’re facing a DUI in L.A.

If you’ve been arrested for a DUI, it’s important to hire legal counsel as soon as possible. A DUI attorney will examine your case and help you resolve your situation to the best terms available for your unique situation. Jon Artz is an experienced DUI lawyer who has been fighting for his clients’ best interests for over 40 years.

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