New York Daily News

May 15, 2003

Union: Cop notes show ticket push

By ALICE MCQUILLAN DAILY NEWS POLICE BUREAU

Internal memos from police supervisors confirm that the NYPD has an illegal quota system for issuing tickets, police union officials charged yesterday.

Patrolmen's Benevolent Association officials offered an undated, handwritten note from a Bronx lieutenant as evidence in their effort to show that cops are pressured to write tickets.

The memo, written to a sergeant in the 50th Precinct, criticizes the productivity of three police officers.

"He only wrote 16 summonses for the entire month and if they were written on O.T. [overtime] his job on 1st platoon is also in trouble," the memo read.

PBA President Patrick Lynch said the lieutenant's memo reveals the department's approach.

"He is threatening the police officers and pressuring the supervisor to meet the numbers," Lynch said.

Chief Michael Collins, an NYPD spokesman, declined to comment on the memo from the lieutenant, saying he is unable to determine its authenticity.

Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said the NYPD does not have a quota and retribution system but maintains "productivity goals for our employees. We have things we want them to do, just as any other job."

Two other documents, dated April 12, 2002, and Jan. 17, 2003, direct officers to focus ticket writing on double-parking, blocked bus stops, driving without a seat belt and use of a cell phone in traffic, PBA leaders said.

However, equipment violations for problems like a broken headlight or a busted turn signal are frowned upon as "phony summonses," Lynch said. "It's illegal to tell a police officer what type of summons to give out," said Lynch.

He speculated that the reason for the policy is that drivers must pay for moving and parking citations but can avoid paying equipment violations if they quickly fix the problems.

Kelly denied finances play a role in how police officers ticket drivers. "I've been around a long time - never has there been any discussion with police officers [to] go out and issue summonses to raise money," said Kelly.