May 13, 2003


NYPD Is Charged With Setting Quotas

Staff Reporter of the Sun

The police union yesterday accused the New York City Police Department of making money for the city by establishing quotas to increase the number of summonses issued by police officers.

The Police Department denied there were quotas and attributed the apparent increase in summonses to the union’s "fuzzy math."

The president of the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association, Patrick Lynch, fired the first shot in the battle yesterday by pointing toward the increase in "summons activity" recorded in the NYPD’s pioneering computerized crime database, Compstat.

"The NYPD has become a summons machine generating millions of dollars to close the city’s budget gap while eroding the relationship between police and the communities they serve," Mr. Lynch said in a statement. "With the number of police officers dropping like a rock, the number of summonses written by those left behind has soared."

A spokesman for the PBA, Al O’Leary, said the apparent increase in summonses was fueled by quotas.

"You can call them goals or targets or management productivity levels, but in a practical world, those are quotas," Mr. O’Leary said.

The NYPD quickly denied that any quotas exist.

"We don’t have quotas," said the NYPD’s chief spokesman, Michael O’Looney, referring to the PBA interpretation as "fuzzy math."

The Police Department also said the PBA erred in its interpretation of the Compstat numbers that tabulate summonses issued by patrol officers in the city’s 76 police precincts.

According to Compstat statistics released yesterday, officers on patrol wrote 912,414 parking tickets between January 1 and May 11 of this year, compared with 877,443 parking tickets during the same period last year, which represents an increase of 3.9%.

But Mr. O’Looney said those numbers do not include parking tickets issued by other NYPD units such as the traffic control, housing, transit, and highway divisions. When parking tickets from those units are included, the total for 2003 is 2,254,104, while the total parking tickets written during the same period last year is 2,720,011, which represents a decrease of 17.1%.

Total summonses for moving violations are also down, though the Police Department conceded that criminal court summonses — issued for crimes such as trespassing, disorderly conduct, and driving with a suspended license — have increased 15% this year.

"It would have been easier if the PBA had first raised this issue with the department so we could have clarified this misunderstanding before it went to the press," Mr. O’Looney said in a statement.

A spokesman for Mayor Bloomberg, Ed Skyler, was a little more blunt in his statement:

"It is bizarre that Pat Lynch, who at some point in his life was a police officer, would make such an amateurish mistake, but considering his motivations, credibility, and track record, we have come to expect such nonsense from him."