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Tickets, Please

Yet another LAPD officer received yet another lawsuit settlement over an alleged traffic ticket quota. Is the system in Los Angeles any different from the one in Mojave?

According to court papers, Officer Dan Gregg’s supervisor, Nancy Lauer, instructed him to deny overtime to officers who failed to meet their monthly ticket quota. Officer Gregg says after he complained about the system, his superiors retaliated against him by pursing a meritless internal affairs probe, denying him overtime, and following him to a doctors’ appointment “in an attempt to find some misconduct so that Lauer could punish [him].” The Los Angeles City Council voted unanimously to approve a $950,000 settlement, which did not include an admission of wrongdoing.

To date, Los Angeles has paid over $10 million in legal fees and settlement related to the quota scandal.

Ticket Quota?

VC 41602 makes it illegal for any department to use a quota; VC 41600 defines “quota” as “any requirement regarding the number of. . .citations issued.” Any citation issued by a department that has an illegal quota is technically invalid, but absent a civil settlement like the one in Los Angeles or a blatant admission that such a system exists, ticket quotas are hard to prove.

All supervisors have expectations for their officers in terms of how many citations they write, and these expectations are not illegal. A system crosses the line if:

  • Specific: A written memo or oral instruction that officers must write X number of tickets per shift.
  • Consequences: If the expectations are not met, is the officer disciplined or is there any other fallout?
  • “T” Word: A system may be illegal if the department says anything about “tickets,” so supervisors often use euphemisms like “law enforcement contacts.”

Ticket quotas are a special concern in STEP campaigns and other heightened enforcement efforts.

Getting Legal Help

The aggressive attorneys at Bigger & Harman, APC, are committed to giving individuals a voice when dealing with speeding and traffic tickets. Call today at 661-349-9300 or email attorney@markbigger.com to receive the personal professional attention you deserve. En español, llame al 661-349-9755.