While police and their supporters continue to insist that police are out there keeping our streets safe, an internal document sent from the Edmundson Mayor John Gwaltney implies otherwise. The letter, which was included with the paychecks of the town’s police officers, spells out in very plain terms their actual role in the community – extorting money for the state.
In the document obtained by ThinkProgress, the mayor is careful to point out that the town does not have quotas. He states that he only wants “good tickets” written but adds that he is still very disappointed that the Department had been extorting fewer people. Gwaltney goes on to threaten the officers’ bank accounts, stating;
“The tickets that you write do add to the revenue on which the P.D. budget is established and will directly affect pay adjustments at budget time.”
He doesn’t stop with their pay, either, the mayor then goes on to imply that the officers benefits may be in danger, should they not get their ticket production up by budget time.
“It has always been the desire of myself and the Board to provide a safe and pleasant work place with good compensation and benefits for everyone. However, our ability to continue doing this is being compromised by your work slow down. I realize that your work production records are directly effected by many extenuating circumstances and those factors are always accounted for as your work records are reviewed by myself and human resources,” the mayor warns.
One fifth of Edmundson’s population is below poverty level, and the town collects 35% of its revenue from tickets and fines.
While departments will usually deny quotas exist, more and more police have been admitting to their existence, despite the careful wording to leave enough wiggle room for plausible deniability.
However, just last week we reported on “the world’s worst cop” who also admitted to the use of quotas and was captured on video.
“This is the last day of the month. I get every stat I need just off of you guys,” says the officer as he begins his rights violating confession.
“So you guys gotta make quota, huh?” asks the detained teen.
“We don’t have a quota. We have expectations. And what that means is, you will make so many arrests a month, you should write so many tickets a month, and you should haul so many dumbasses to jail a month. If we’re gonna pay you $100,000 a year, we should expect something back from you, shouldn’t we?” says the officer.
When the man replies, ‘yes’ that he understands what the officer just said, the cop then asks, “Would you like to be part of my quota tonight?”
The young man then asks the cop, “On what grounds [would you arrest me]?”
To which the cop replies, “‘On what grounds?’ Oh, I don’t know, I’ll think of something. How about aiding and abetting reckless driving?”
There is no money in solving murders and rape cases, but pursuing victimless crimes such a minor traffic violations and catching a kid with a joint provide a steady stream of revenue for the city. Protect and serve, or stalk and extort? Perhaps it is time to change that motto.