July 30, 2010

Move Bill Exempting Officers from Quotas For Any Activity


The State Legislature has approved a bill that would make it tougher for NYPD bosses to punish officers who don’t meet quotas requiring them to give out a certain number of tickets or make a specific number of arrests within a given period of time.

“Quotas are bad for the community because they take away an officer’s discretion, which is so important to building a relationship with the neighborhood they patrol,” Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association President Patrick J. Lynch said in a statement. “This legislation is a no-cost expansion of an existing anti-quota bill that, when signed into law, will allow the PBA to file a grievance on behalf of a police officer who was punished for failing to meet a quota for summonses or arrests. It is a law that will be helpful to both local communities and the police officers who serve them.”

Standards or Quotas?

Mayor Bloomberg and the Police Department did not respond to requests for comment on the bill.

The Police Department and the PBA have had a long-standing dispute over whether what the department calls productivity standards are actually quotas. Mr. Lynch has said that if an officer is penalized for not achieving them, they are quotas. A law passed several years ago outlawed ticket quotas.

Identical versions of the bill were passed in the Senate June 16 and in the Assembly July 1. As of July 23, Governor Paterson had not called the bill, meaning the 10-day period for signing or vetoing it has not started.

The Senate sponsor was Eric Adams, a retired NYPD Captain who was criticized recently for sponsoring the bill to stop the Police Department from keeping in a database the names of people who are stopped and frisked but released without an arrest or a summons. The bill was co-sponsored by Ruth Hassell-Thompson.

Susan B. John, whose district is in western New York, sponsored the Assembly version of the bill. Co-sponsors were Jeffrion L. Aubry, Adriano Espaillat and N. Nick Perry.

The bill would expand the existing law forbidding ticket quotas to bar punishing or threatening the job of a police officer over failure to meet a quota for traffic tickets, summonses, arrests or stops of individuals, as made under the stop-and-frisk policy. It specifies possible punishments as a reassignment, a scheduling change, an adverse evaluation, constructive dismissal (treating employees so badly that they resign), a transfer, and the denial of a promotion or overtime. The bill would allow employees who feel they were mistreated because of quotas to pursue a grievance if they are under a collective-bargaining agreement, or a civil-service hearing if not.