by: Kerry Kavanaugh Updated:
DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. - Only Channel 2 Action News spoke with a former DeKalb County officer who believes a quota system is jeopardizing public safety.
Channel 2 Action News broke the story Monday about the lawsuit alleging a quota system within the DeKalb County Police Department encourages some officers to break the law.
The former officer says the alleged quota system applies to arrests and tickets.
Tne DeKalb County Police Department issued a statement Tuesday, responding only to the officer’s allegations, saying simply there is no ticket quota system in their department.
"You're going to start writing tickets for things, minor, minor violations, that you never would have before,” the former officer told Channel 2’s Kerry Kavanaugh.
We agreed to conceal the officer’s identity, who now works for another agency. The officer says a quota system forced officers to spend more time writing tickets than protecting neighborhoods.
The officer says the pressure from command was constant.
“‘Hey, you better average out to have at least two tickets and one arrest a day’," the officer said. "’You need to pick up your action, you need to write more tickets.’"
"And if quota wasn't met, this officer said there were consequences that affected their hours, their precinct and approval of off-duty jobs. And the officer alleges if someone was short, they knew exactly where to go. "It's known. 'Hey we need to get our tickets, let's go down the south side,’” the former officer said.
"When you are penalized for not making a quota or get a benefit, a pat on the back, recognition or benefit for making a quota, it's a quota," said attorney Mark Bullman.
Bullman thinks the quota system pushes some officers to go even further.
He's suing DeKalb County on behalf of several individuals alleging that the quota system, "encouraged DeKalb County police officers to unlawfully detain, seize and search persons and/or their automobiles without reasonable suspicion or probable cause, regularly resulting in unlawful arrests."
"If you're arrested because a quota is being made, then I think there is a severe constitutional problem with that,” Bullman said.
"Yeah, they're going to make some questionable arrests because they don't want to feel the wrath of the department,” said the former officer.
This officer thinks very few cops are breaking the law, but she says the department's priorities place public safety at risk. "It starts to erode the relationship between the public and the police."
DeKalb County initially declined to comment on this story because of the pending litigation. On Tuesday they said could respond only to the former officer’s allegations surrounding a ticket quota. A spokesperson emailed Channel 2 Action News the following statement:
“The DeKalb County Police Department does not have a ticket quota system. Our department consists of dedicated and hard-working men and women who come to work every day and put their lives on the line to protect and serve this community. Like any law enforcement organization we do expect our officers to uphold their sworn duties. Those duties include, implementing and enforcing methods that ultimately reduce crime and protect law abiding citizens. Our constituents deserve nothing less than this type of exemplary service and every member of this organization has the shared responsibility to achieve this mission.”