A new "performance evaluation" program that will measure how well D.C. police officers and officials do their jobs was attacked by some members of the department yesterday for containing ticket and arrest "quotas" and creating what some believe will be an "unmanageable" amount of paperwork.
The new program, scheduled to begin Monday, was ordered by D.C. Police Chief Maurice T. Turner and was mandated by law, according to Capt. Robert Scanlon, who has worked on developing the program for more than three years.
It was designed to replace an evaluation system that used such criteria as loyalty and initiative with "concrete and specific" standards that are more job-related, he said.
For instance, the plan organizes and evaluates the tasks of a patrol officer under broad categories, such as their behavior at crime scenes and the quality of the follow-up reports. The various categories are graded, then weighted according to their importance, and an average is assigned annually representing the officer's overall performance. Evaluations will not be used for promotional or salary purposes, but two consecutive unsatisfactory evalutions can lead to dismissal.
The primary section of the plan that came under fire yesterday dealt with the patrolman "enforcement" category.
According to the plan, an "unsatisfactory" patrol officer is one who, over a four-week period, fails to achieve any of the following: one criminal arrest; two traffic or noncriminal arrests; 50 parking tickets, and 10 moving or pedestrian violations.
By contrast, the plan defines an "outstanding" officer as one who, every four weeks, produces two or more of the following: two or more criminal arrests; six or more traffic or noncriminal arrests; 150 or more parking tickets, and 50 or more moving and pedestrian violations.
Gary Hankins, labor committee chairman of the Fraternal Order of Police, the bargaining agent for D.C. police officers, said: "There is no question that these are quotas. They have set extremely specific numbers and made it clear that to be a highly rated officer, you have to meet those numbers."
Hankins, who called other parts of the plan excellent, said there should not be citywide goals because some areas of the District, such as far Northwest, are more residential and officers may have problems meeting the ticketing "quotas."
Assistant Chief of Police Isaac Fulwood Jr. said in a press conference Wednesday that the "goals" were not quotas but "realistic performance standards" that officers should strive to meet.
Scanlon said that subordinates and their supervisors will decide before the evaluation time period what are realistic goals for an officer's beat, and that the criteria can be adjusted.
Other jurisdictions in the Washington area, such as Arlington County, use quotas to evaluate officer performance, and even those without numerical guidelines generally monitor the number of tickets issued by officers to help gauge an officer's performance.
Some officials who will evaluate lower ranks said that the time spent in quarterly meetings with subordinates, and the accompanying forms they will have to fill out, would "better be spent on police work."
"I think it will prove to be a burden," Scanlon acknowledged, "but as people become more familiar with the standards, it will become more manageable. In fairness to the officers, we need to be specific."