Quota questions and the NYPD

September 10, 2010 3:42:02 PM PDT
Some may consider it a smoking gun.

Secret recordings obtained by the New York Times reveal NYPD officers from a Brooklyn precinct were forced to meet quotas for handing out tickets.

This time the secret recordings took place inside the 81st Precinct in Brooklyn. A police supervisor makes it clear that if more summonses are not issued, heads will to roll.

Supervisor: "You'll work when I tell you to work. You don't have to be happy about it and if you don't write that's fine, because after I bounce you to a different platoon for inactivity, the next thing is to put you on paper, start writing you are below standards and look to fire you. I really don't have a problem firing people I don't need to carry."

Similar recordings were the focus last March of an Eyewitness News investigation. Officer Adil Polanco brought the tapes to us after he secretly recorded supervisors and police union delegates during a roll call at the 41st Precinct in the Bronx where he says the emphasis on numbers: 1 arrest, 20 summonses per month, drives everything.

Patrol Supervisor: "Next week, 25 and 1, 35 and 1 and until you decide to quit this job to go work as a Pizza Hut deliveryman, this is what you're going to be doing until then. Do we understand each other?"

Officer Polanco says the pressure leads to false arrests and despite growing evidence of quotas, nothing is done.

"I've shared this evidence with internal affairs and they know better than anybody what's going on and they haven't done anything," Officer Polanco said.

NYPD Deputy Commissioner Paul Brown released a statement on the latest recordings saying, "there's no quotas discussed." He adds that "it's absurd to think that managers can't establish goals that require minimum productivity. To suggest otherwise would mean no recourse but to let slackers do nothing."

"I think the NYPD needs to admit it has a problem," Darious Charney, Center For Constitutional Rights, said.

Charney says the roll call tapes, the record numbers of people stopped and frisked, and mounting lawsuits all point to the corrosive influence of quotas.

"You can't deprive me of my liberty just to meet some kind of number and that's what these quotas are doing they're creating the incentive to violate peoples' rights," he said.

Officer Polanco remains suspended with pay for a dispute he had with his supervisor about joining his suddenly-ill partner being taken by ambulance to the hospital.

A final note, the NYPD says this is much to do about nothing and that any talk of numbers are simply "productivity goals."

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