The Washington Post

Arlington chief denies police have a quota system

Arlington Police Chief M. Douglas Scott announced Tuesday that his department does not have a quota system for arrests and citations, despite a memo that indicated otherwise.

Scott rescinded a March 1 memorandum that suggested officers need to make a minimum number of monthly arrests and issue certain traffic citations. He said he first saw the memo Monday after a news report on WUSA Channel 9.

The memo was written by two patrol commanders, and it warned that “consistently failing to attain these goals could result in disciplinary action.”

At a morning news conference, video of which was posted on YouTube, Scott said quotas are “dangerous” because they focus on quantity over quality.

“Even the insinuation that we are supporting a quota system for the enforcement of traffic or criminal violations goes against the core values of this organization,” Scott’s memo reads.

He said the original memo was a mistake, but added that the commanders who wrote it would not be disciplined.

The original memo stated that the department does not have quotas, but detailed monthly “expectations,” including for an evening patrol shift: seven arrests, five field observation reports, 30 traffic summons (maximum 25 percent warnings) and five parking citations.

Scott said those numbers were reasonable for a productive officer, but should not be set as a quota.

This item has been updated to add the video.

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