WASHINGTON -- What's going on in Arlington County? On Monday, WUSA-TV reported that it had obtained an Arlington County Police Department memo detailing what could be interpreted as a quota system for issuing speeding tickets, arrests and driving-under-the-influence charges.
Chief M. Douglas Scott has since rescinded the memo, calling it a "mistake."
The memo seemed to confirm what several residents had believed for years, including Elizabeth Sills, who told the television station that she "always thought there was a quota system."
Former Arlington resident Chris Baron agreed, saying he "suspected they had a quota system because everyone knows where the police wait to give tickets, which always seems to pick up at the end of the month."
The memo did not explicitly detail a quota system, but it did say that officers who "consistently fail to attain these goals may be subject to corrective or disciplinary action."
When pressed by WUSA-TV, police spokesman Dustin Sternbeck issued a statement:
"...Performance measures are established to allow citizens, county managers and command staff to evaluate the quality and effectiveness of the police services provided in Arlington County. The specific measures in the memorandum were determined from shift averages, informal polls and discussions between squads and their supervisors. Additionally, each of these expectations are subject to modification through a review process."
However, in response to the WUSA story, Scott issued a new memo Tuesday morning titled “Proactivity Expectations 2012.”
In Scott's new memo, published by ARLNow.com, he emphatically denies that the department uses quotas:
"The Arlington County Police Department does not support a quota system with regard to enforcement efforts. Our officers are expected to perform their duties with the utmost professionalism and courtesy and even the insinuation that we are supporting a quota system ... goes against the core values of this organization."
The two patrol commanders responsible for the original memo will not face disciplinary action. At a press conference Tuesday morning, Scott said that quotas are "dangerous" because they emphasize quantity over quality.
Photo by Flickr user nostri-imago.