Police Officer Fired for Leaking Ticket Quota Reality

July 30th, 2013
Updated 07/30/2013 at 5:51 pm

A police officer has been fired after going against a city policy that encouraged cops to write needless tickets and harass citizens. Justin Hanners alleged that the police in Auburn, Alabama, were encouraged to write frivolous tickets in order to raise revenue for the city.

Photo of police officer writing a ticket.Auburn police officers were rewarded for writing a specific number of tickets and making a set number of arrests, Hanners alleged. Hanners said his commanding officer, Sgt. Trey Neal, told him that officers had to have a minimum of 100 “contacts” a month. The term contact is a euphemism for ticketing or arresting an individual.

Officers that didn’t get the 100 contacts were punished with mandatory overtime and threatened with job loss, Hanners charged. Cops that wrote more tickets were rewarded with gift certificates for steak dinners and other incentives.

Tickets Used to Raise Revenue

Hanners believes the motivation for the policy was to raise revenue for the city in the form of fines. He believes the quota system is a perversion of police work.

The system distracts officers from dealing with serious crime, Hanners said. He believes officers would not be able to investigate crime because they were too busy writing tickets.

Hanners also believes the quotas are unfair to lower income people, who are more likely to have contact with police. The officer noted that fines of several hundred dollars can devastate a lower income family. He said he was encouraged to write tickets with large fines in order to raise money for the city. Hanners didn’t say it, but the policy could also be construed as racist because African Americans and Hispanics are more likely to be lower income and targeted by police.

A Scary Video

A Reason TV video about Hanners and his complaints has received well over a hundred thousand views on YouTube. Even before the video was posted online, Hanners was fired by the Auburn Police for violating a gag order. It is clear that the department violated his First Amendment Rights.

Hanners said his superiors tried to bribe and threaten him to keep him from going public with his complaints. The City of Auburn has denied his charges, but the video contains a quote from Sgt. Neal that sounds like a threat.

In one part of the video, Hanners alleges that he and other officers were encouraged to go out and arrest people who were drunk but not violating the law to fill their ticket quotas. Auburn is a college town, so they had no shortage of drunks to pick up on Saturday night. Such a scenario reminds us of the young college girl who was assaulted by six alcohol agents attempting to bust her for buying bottled water, as Anthony Gucciardi reported early this month.

Far from Alone

Hanners also learned that he is far from alone in complaining about such policies. When he approached the Police Benevolent Association (a union) for help, Hanners learned that the association had received similar complaints from many other cops on different departments.

Hanners’ complaints are frightening because they show how law enforcement is being corrupted and perverted in America. Small towns have long used ticket writing and speed traps to raise revenues, but now the practice is spreading to larger communities; Auburn is a small city of 50,000 people. Even more frightening is his allegation that fines are now being used as a source of revenue.

Worse, a good case can be made that such quotas are a method of driving lower income people and minorities out of town. Poor people that cannot pay the tickets will avoid gentrified communities. Similar policies include the City and County of Denver’s ban on camping in public (directed against the homeless) and New York’s policy of stopping and frisking anybody officers think is suspicious.

Another problem that Hanners points out is that quotas effectively drive intelligent and conscientious police officers off the force. Such individuals quit because they are disgusted with the policies, leaving only bureaucrats and crooked cops on the force.

Officer Hanners is to be commended for exposing this terrible policy. Hopefully some community that wants real law enforcement will give him a job. One has to wonder how many other law enforcement agencies have implemented this horrendous quota system.

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Category: Injustice

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  1. Archie says:

    Well the fired police officer Hanner should be called a whistle blower and the mayor of Auburn Georgia should demand a investigation from the police department internal affairs department and officer Hanner should be reinstated as a police officer in that city. it sounds that particular police department has a problem with law enforcement priorities and the use of given tickets to raise revenue for the Department is a shameful policy and in the realm of corruptness and just wrong, Officer hanner should be re-instated Mr.Mayor of Auburn Georgia

    • Archie says:

      I am the same person who made this comment and I was wrong about the city of Auburn being in Georgia as I found out it was in Auburn Alabama and I am calling on the Mayor of that city to investigate these charges and refer it to the Auburn Police Department Internal Affairs Department and if that does not work fire the New Police Chief and get yourself a competent Police Chief that will do the right thing in running the Police Department. I would strongly recommend that Ex-Officer be reinstated because he is a dedicated honest person who whistle blew and got punished for his reporting a wrong

  2. daniel says:

    I suggest that all Police Officers, Lawyers, Judges, Elected Officials, Gov. Employees and Union Members be
    drug tested just like us in the private sector.

  3. Lettie Simcox says:

    Govt servants have to keep in secret different things. It's their duty to not share information with public. It's for the benefit of everyone. Check best-college-essay.com for best essays.

  4. It always used to provide more the latest trend in the current affairs that are being going in the world, here on the police officer was also been efficient.

  5. Joe says:

    In certain Scandanavian countries, the ticket fine is based upon one's income. A certain% of income is assigned to certain offenses. Therefore, it's more likely that the police there would ignore the average citizen and target people with higher incomes to raise revenue.

    In one case, the government issued a citation for $200K to a CEO who was traveling 50 in a 25 zone.

    I hope that law enforcement in our country never gets that much authority over private citizens.

  6. That is like the police are bribing their bosses to keep their jobs. This has happened in many places and who benefits from increased revenue collection, is it the city or the officials?

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