LISTEN: Auburn Police imposed quota on its officers

A secret recording of a City of Auburn Police Division meeting from last summer reveals its administration mandating a 100 contact per month quota on officers, a policy which may violate the department’s ordinances and commonly accepted police ethics.


The City of Auburn Police Division is responsible for ensuring the safety of Auburn University as well as the neighboring town.


In the recordings, provided to Campus Reform by recently terminated police officer Justin Hanners, Lt. Trey Neal can be heard telling officers that the administration was “disgusted” with the previous months’ contact statistics.


“There are a few people here who apparently did not get the message that your job is to police this city, not just to ride around in it,” Neal said on June 8, 2012.  


“[S]tarting this month, right now, tonight, officers will have a 100-contact per month minimum,” he continued in the recording.


While introducing the policy, Neal strongly suggested that the majority of those 100 contacts result in citations.


“Forty of those may be warnings from traffic and the other sixty will be divided between traffic citations, non-traffic citations, field interviews and custodial arrests,” Neal said.


“I know some people bitch about quotas; this is not a quota - it is a necessary action [inaudible,]” he continued.


LISTEN: Police administrator imposes quota on officers


That policy appears to clash with the division's official ordinances, which state officers should focus on the quality of their police work rather than the quantity of citations.


“Writing citations is a required part of the officer’s duties, however, no ticket quotas exist within this Division and the officers should place more emphasis on the qualitative aspects of a citation rather than the quantitative aspects,” it reads.


In the meeting, Neal also warned the officers to “not be the one who does get a 100.”


“I don’t want to hear any arguing, and I don’t want to hear any fussing,” he said. “You wanna bitch, don’t let me hear about it.”


Justin Hanners, the former Auburn police officer who made the recordings, told Campus Reform in June that Neal bought gift cards to restaurants with which he rewarded officers who made the most contacts.


Hanners added that Neal would call officers, encouraging them to compete for the gift cards by telling them how many tickets and arrests other officers had and how many they needed to win.


A criminal justice expert,  George Klein said while many police departments enforce contact “goals” each month to ensure officers are doing their job, such quotas would never be written down and are usually not unreasonable.


“But if they are receiving gift cards, that borders on unethical and may be criminal,” Klein said. “And if they are giving gift cards for making arrests, that is not legal,” he continued.


The City of Auburn Police division declined comment on the story, despite multiple requests from Campus Reform.


Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @Macaela_

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