This is the type of police officer that a department should want working for them – but instead he is fired for speaking out against quotas.

It is clear that police officers have First Amendment protected speech rights for speaking out on matters of public interest.  For a list of representative cases, see 109 A.L.R. Fed. 9 (Originally published in 1992).  Ticket quotas are clearly a matter of public interest, and “a quota becomes the starting point for the abuse of police discretion.”  Illya Lichtenberg, Police Discretion and Traffic Enforcement: A Government of Men?, 50 Clev. St. L. Rev. 425, 443 (2003).

While some states have an outright statutory prohibition on quotas, c.f. Tex. Transp. Code Ann. § 720.002 (Vernon) (prohibiting formal or informal ticket quotas and providing for removal from office for a violation), Alabama does not.  Nevertheless, it is a poor police practice for the reasons noted in the video.

Chief Tommy Dawson who allegedly set the quota, retired effective July 1, 2013.  He has been replaced by Assistant Chief (now Chief) Paul Register, who has the opportunity to make this right.  He may be contacted at pregister@auburnalabama.org or 334-501-3110.

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