Cop Claims He Was Only Issuing Tickets To Dead People To Keep Up With Nonexistent Quotas

As my grandma used to say, honesty is the best policy. But you know what else is a pretty good policy? Giving traffic tickets only to people who are actually alive. The cop fired by the New York Police Department says he was issuing summonses to deceased people, but only because he had to fill monthly quotas the NYPD says don’t exist.

He was already writing more than 125 to 150, reports the New York Post, but he says in a lawsuit filed this week against the NYPD that he was told to amp up that effort.

“Specifically, [the cop] was told that he needed to start issuing more summonses for red-light and seat-belt violations” and was warned he would be moved “if he did not issue the increased number of summonses,” the suit says.

Instead of handing out tickets to people who didn’t deserve them, the cop figured he could just issue summonses to dead people because hey, they can’t complain.

He went ahead and “prepared summonses by taking information from legitimate summonses that he had issued in the past. But he prepared the summonses in such a way that [they] would not impact any motorists,” the lawsuit explains. This is what I’d like to call the “Hey, I’m The Good Guy Here” defense.

The whole thing fell apart last July when his coworkers noticed he never had to testify about any of his tickets. Other cops say he wasn’t trying to help people out, just pad his pockets with the overtime involved in writing the tickets.

He pleaded guilty in May to three counts of falsifying business records, was sentenced to 150 hours of community service and was fired in June. He was officially fired in June but says he should’ve gotten a hearing first. Not so, says the NYPD, since his actions are considered an “oath of office offense” as he knew what he was doing was wrong and did it anyway.

NYPD officer canned for ticketing dead people says he was doing it to meet ‘quotas’ [New York Post]

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  1. samonela says:
  2. NotEd says:

    Easy ticket to write for dead people?

    Loitering.

  3. Blueskylaw says:

    Sounds like he’s too nice to be a New York cop.
    He would probably give a drowning man water.

  4. Mr. Spy says:

    I know “quotas” are basically urban legends. But… uh. Why doesn’t my gut believe that?

    • MaytagRepairman is stealing socks while fixing your dryer. says:

      An ex-cop I’ve known told me he didn’t have quotas but his department did look at how many tickets each officer wrote in a month and if you were way off the department average you had a sit-down with your supervisor. So they don’t have “quotas” but they still need to write tickets to keep their jobs or get promoted.

      I think we the public call them “quotas” because it is an easy one-word summary of it even if it isn’t specifically correct.

  5. Chuft-Captain says:

    I believe it. Ticket quots are common knowledge, no matter how much they deny them. They just call them something else so that when they are asked about “quotas” they can technically be telling the truth by saying “Oh no, we don’t have quotas that would be wrong!”.

    • mikedt says:

      They’re not quotas, they’re “performance measurements.”

      • hammond egger says:

        They’re not quotas, they’re “numerical goals”.

      • Mambru says:

        Chief:
        I need to talk about your Ticket numbers.

        Officer:
        Really? I have 15 tickets on.

        Chief:
        Well, ok, 15 is minimum, ok?

        Officer:
        Ok.

        Chief:
        Now, it’s up to you whether or not you want to just do the bare
        minimum. Well, like Brian, for example, has 37 Tickets. And a
        terrific smile.

        Officer:
        Ok. Ok, you want me to Idssue more?

        • Coelacanth says:

          Chief:

          “Oh yeah, by the way, due to budget cutbacks, we’re going to have to take away your pieces of flare.”

  6. Greg Ohio says:

    Bogus ticket: bad. Rape, murder, kidnapping, assault: good. I love New York.

    • MarkFL says:

      But none of these is as bad as a 32-ounce soft drink at a ball game.

    • Gordon Comstock says:

      You’re ignorant, and about 20 years out of date.

      New York is, and has been for some time, one of the safest big cities in the United States. From 1990 to 2011, New York’s annual murder total dropped 77%, rapes dropped 54%, robbery dropped 80%, felony assault dropped 58%, and burglary dropped 84%.

      All this happened during a period when the city’s population rose by 11.6%.

      • Blueskylaw says:

        Before you go quoting statistics, you should know that it’s an unwritten “rule” in New York to “lessen” a crime that is reported and when, let’s say, 5 crimes are committed in a single offense, they only report the most or even the less serious one and the others are disregarded.

        “In interviews with the criminologists, other retired senior officials cited examples of what the researchers believe was a periodic practice among some precinct commanders and supervisors: Checking eBay, other websites, catalogs or other sources to find prices for items that had been reported stolen that were lower than the value provided by the crime victim. They would then use the lower values to reduce reported grand larcenies – felony thefts valued at more than $1,000, which are recorded as index crimes under CompStat – to misdemeanors, which are not, the researchers said.

        Others also said that precinct commanders or aides they dispatched sometimes went to crime scenes to persuade victims not to file complaints or to urge them to change their accounts in ways that could sometimes result in the downgrading of offenses to lesser crimes, the researchers said.

        “Those people in the CompStat era felt enormous pressure to downgrade index crime, which determines the crime rate, and at the same time they felt less pressure to maintain the integrity of the crime statistics,” said John A. Eterno, one of the researchers and a retired New York City police captain”

        It seems that when one’s political future hangs in the balance, one is not
        above manipulating even murder statistics to keep one’s position in power.

        http://articles.sun-sentinel.com/2010-02-08/news/1002070042_1_compstat-index-crimes-crime-victim

      • Knyte says:

        ” From 1990 to 2011, New York’s annual murder total dropped 77%, rapes dropped 54%, robbery dropped 80%, felony assault dropped 58%, and burglary dropped 84%.”

        That’s great that all of those dropped, except for the fact that all of those things still happen! I live in a town in which the last murder was over ten years ago. The worse offenses that happen around here are speeding and littering. Hooray for small towns!

  7. luxosaucer13 says:

    Doesn’t suprise me at all. Traffic tickets are an easy way for a city/county/state government to increase revenue, all the while looking like they’re “enforcing” the laws. Why else is there an explosion of red-light cameras in use in municipalities across the US?

    • MarkFL says:

      See my message below about the red-light camera issuing a ticket to a dead woman. It’s worth noting that when the county was discussing buying the cameras, pretty much all of the discussion centered around the revenue produced, not safety. (Supposedly there are now more rear-end collisions at intersections with cameras because of people slamming on the brakes, but I don’t have any documentation of this. I do know that I’m more likely to stop unsafely if I know there is a camera.) Now the county is upset because the cameras aren’t generating as much revenue as expected.

      • Blueskylaw says:

        God help us all if Goldman Sucks ever goes
        into the red-light camera ticket issuing business.

        • MarkFL says:

          Then when the jurisdictions stop using the cameras and they start losing money, they’ll just get the taxpayers to save them.

      • Chuft-Captain says:

        I got a red-light “request for information” from Arizona on a drive across country from Kentucky to California and back. They basically wanted me to identify the driver and mail it back, as the vehicle photographed was mine. I would have laughed in their faces if I could, because doing what they were asking would be tantamount to dismissing my right not to to testify against myself.

        Plus I was driving a 6,000 pound van, towing a trailer that weights another thousand pounds empty and probably had another 700 pounds of stuff in it. The trailer has no brakes itself, and the total length of all this is about thirty feet. Given that, and the photos, I was clearly able to work out that stopping in the three seconds before the light turned red was NOT an option at the intersection they snapped me at (and the second photo was me all the way through, with the light red by 0.6 seconds – I was under the speed limit, as well).

        • jumbojeepman says:

          So you were driving an unsafe vehicle? If you can’t either stop your load in time for a yellow/red light change, then something is wrong. A 1700 pound trailer should be nothing to a 1/2 ton or 3/4 ton van. My F-250 doesn’t have any problem stopping while towing a 3k lb boat with no trailer brakes.

  8. Olivia Neutron-Bomb says:

    NYPD is a corrupt mess, sponsored by Goldman Sachs.

    • MarkFL says:

      About 15 years ago I had a customer where I worked who I couldn’t really help because he was too busy complaining about how the police in Florida are all corrupt, so he was going to move back. When it came out that “back” meant to NYC, I had to choke back the instinct to ask, “Never saw ‘Serpico,’ did you?”

    • Such an Interesting Monster says:

      And controlled by and doing the bidding of Bloomberg.

      But in all fairness, every fascist dictator needs his SS, amiright?

  9. SavijMuhdrox says:

    The thing that gets me with this is that he collected overtime for writing all these tickets. So while I won’t argue that ticket quotas don’t exist (i believe they do), I’m still thinking he was getting paid quite decently for doing this.

    And getting paid overtime as a police officer is another ridiculous item that needs to be removed or at least re-thought. Some of the times an officer is required to be present while no on duty (and thus get overtime) are as ridiculous as the Soprano’s portrayal of mob guys at construction sites.

    and while i’m ranting slightly, instead of giving tickets to dead people, what’s stopping an officer from standing in Manhattan streets as cars move ever so slowly in cross-island traffic and handing out dozens of cellphone citations? The offenders are maybe going a block before the ticket can be written…

  10. shepd says:

    The “No quotas exist” line of BS exists everywhere:

    http://fullcomment.nationalpost.com/2012/05/02/marni-soupcoff-think-police-really-dont-have-ticket-quotas-check-out-these-leaks/

    http://www.niagarafallsreview.ca/2011/10/17/ticket-quota-may-have-played-role-in-funeral-mourner-being-given-ticket-for-running-red-light

    And this is why selective enforcement is always wrong, even when it benefits society–because the side effects of it present a net negative to your liberty.

  11. ancientone567 says:

    Better to give the tickets to the dead than the living. The dead really are not going to care. :) Know if one of the undead shows up at court….Then you really have a problem…BRAINS…BRAINS!!!

  12. Cerne says:

    I’m sure the NYPD doesn’t have quotas. Quotas for police work tend to be illegal or at the very least frowned upon. I’m equally sure the NYPD has “targets” for tickets and uses these targets for promotion review.

  13. Peggee has pearls and will clutch them when cashiers ask "YOU GOT A WIC CHECK MA'AM?" says:

    Funny how his coworkers picked up on the fact that he never had to appear in court, but no one picked up on the fact that none of his tickets ever got paid.

  14. MarkFL says:

    Actually, Broward County has automated the process so that you don’t even have to have a police officer to ticket that dead:

    http://articles.sun-sentinel.com/2011-10-11/news/fl-red-light-ticket-broward-20111011_1_red-light-camera-american-traffic-solutions-red-light-ticket

    Note that in this situation, being dead and having your registration cancelled is not sufficient cause to have the ticket removed.

  15. Such an Interesting Monster says:

    I once knew a guy that was a beat cop for the NYPD and he told me unequivocally that they absolutely have ticket quotas.

  16. Professor59 says:

    I fail to see why any cop has to manufacture ticketable crimes when so many easily spotted traffic offenses occur. For instance, he can stand at the corner of ANY INTERSECTION IN AMERICA and ticket all the drivers on their cell phones.

    • MarkFL says:

      This is not illegal in all states.

      However, I used to sometimes drive next to the HOV lane and count how many solo drivers passed me. I found that the violation rate was usually 30-40%. This would also be a harder ticket to dispute than a speeding ticket or a red light — either you have a passenger or you don’t. (And, at least in Florida, there have already been court cases establishing that a dead body is not considered a passenger.)

    • Cor Aquilonis says:

      Egads. In Little Rock you wouldn’t want to stand on a corner: that’s how you get dead from being run over by a car. If the cops wanted to write tickets here, then they could just wait a few minutes. I see so many traffic violations on my way to work, we could fund the whole city budget on traffic violations alone.

  17. Libertas1 says:

    My standard answer for when the “quota issue” came up when I was performing a traffic stop was:

    “No, there’s no quotas. The Department lets me write as many tickets as I want.”

    After being basically a tax-enforcement agent for six months, I quit.