Police Chief McMahon: 'We Do Not Use Quotas'

The Howard County police chief says he's disappointed at a judge's ruling stating the department uses quotas in issuing DUI citations.

A traffic stop in a case in which a judge declared that Howard County Police used illegal quotas in issuing DUIs was justified and based on probable cause, Police Chief William McMahon said.

“I’m surprised and disappointed and I think it’s a bad ruling,” he told Patch Friday afternoon.

A Howard County judge Thursday threw out a citation given to Katie Quackenbush, 22, of Ellicott City, saying that it was linked to an illegal quota system. The action came after a prosecutor presented an internal police email that he said indicated police had quotas for 2 - 4 DUIs to issue per hour to meet grant money requirements, the Baltimore Sun reported. 

McMahon said Quackenbush was pulled over in April after an officer observed her driving 38 mph on Main Street, where the speed limit is 25 mph. She failed a sobriety test after conceding she had been drinking, McMahon said, and had a blood alcohol level of more than twice the legal limit.

McMahon said the wording in the email presented in court was taken from language in the grant, which mandated a certain numbers of citations.  "Grants have to expect we use the money wisely," McMahon said. Quantifying citations is one way to determine whether or not the money is being effective.

Funding for special supplemental DUI details, he said, would not be disrupted if those numbers were not met.

Quackenbush’s attorney, Mark Muffoletto, told the Sun the language represented the use of quotas -- that is, a requirement that officers write a certain number of citations in a certain time period.

"Just because they were caught … doesn't change the fact that it was a quota," Muffoletto was quoted as saying.

The email, McMahon said, was not an official communication. “It was sent from one employee” to a limited number of officers involved in the detail, he said.

McMahon said he knew the wording of the email, which was sent in January, might be misconstrued. The department stopped using that language in May, he said. Quackenbush was arrested in April of 2011. 

“We do not use quotas,” McMahon said, “One, because they’re illegal … and two because they’re not good management policy.”

He said quotas were unnecessary. The officers assigned to supplemental DUI patrols “sign up because they’re passionate about the work.” 

Jake January 21, 2012 at 02:06 AM
Or you could scroll up and see your previous comments, "The only evidence she was DUI is the word of an officer under pressure by the quota to make these kinds of arrests/citations. That damages his credibility considerably." AND "The officer's credibility is an issue, because it's based on his word that the device wasn't tampered with since its last certification. It's based on his word that the readout showed the person was over the limit." Hmmmm.... sounds like Jason was questioning something, and in his own words, they seem to indicate he's questioning the credibility of the officer! You don't know the facts, you have not read the police report, and I highly doubt you were there.
James Smith January 21, 2012 at 02:45 AM
Ahhh thank you Jake, I was wondering if I would have to answer Mr. Keyes, but you did quite a good job of it =D. @ Jason Keyes, you mentioned New York..... well, I regret to inform you, this is wonderful Maryland, and more specifically, beautiful Howard County. Our police are nationally accredited. That is do to quality participation by all of the officers, not just a few select star officers. There is going to be a big difference in a big city PD than there would be in a smaller county PD. Back to the point, even if an officer has a bad day, he may be grumpy and issue more citations/tickets than if he had an OK day. But, he would never put his potentially life time career on the line by breaching his integrity. As i said before, what benefit do they have from lying? Nothing. If anything, they have far more to lose if they do lie. You say, and I quote, "there are some officers who don't give a crap for their integrity," Apparently you possibly do not understand what being a cop is all about. I am dreadfully sorry Mr. Keyes, I know many officers, and wearing a badge is a thing of great honor to them. Most people in society look up to them because of that. I do not see any need to pick at Jake and I saying that we need reading comprehension classes. Come on man, keep this a nice discussion, not a war trying to put each other down.
Jason Keyes January 24, 2012 at 10:46 PM
You're right. I didn't read the police report. I read the article. I read that the judge threw the case out, and I read the reason given in the article. If you read my comments as directed at the officer, you are in error. I'm sorry you lack the reading comprehension skills necessary to understand.
Jason Keyes January 24, 2012 at 10:51 PM
What a bunch of mindless, senseless, irrational gibberish. Did you really type that with a straight face? Do you really expect anyone to believe that officers in New York are somehow different than officers here in Maryland, or that the police are immune from the same human failings that afflict all of us? In every group of people there are good ones and bad ones, and police are no different. You aren't the only person who knows police officers. As for picking on you: quit misrepresenting what I wrote and there won't be a need to question your reading skills. If you want a nice discussion, don't misrepresent what other people have written. It's not the officer's fault his credibility is in question in this case. I didn't claim it was. It was the policy decision of the police chief (who is also a cop and whose credibility is shot with his denial this was a quota- so much for you "integrity" pap) that diminished the credibility of the officer. As with Jake, I'm sorry you have difficulty comprehending that.
Jason Keyes February 09, 2012 at 11:08 AM


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