Editor’s Note: I strongly recommend everyone to go and view the News Channel 5 story and videos on this subject as well!
Springfield – Tennessee Highway Patrol (THP) troopers are being punished for failing to issue a specific number of speeding tickets in at least one part of the state. Attorney Fletcher Long provided WTVF-TV with a copy of what THP Sergeant Clifford M. Babits posted on the wall of the Troop C station in Robertson County. The Tennessee Highway Patrol’s Toop C also covers Montgomery County.
“I can no longer justify fives on evaluations for troopers not producing activity,” Babits wrote. “I require three things. 1. Answer the radio, 2. Work your crashes, and 3. WRITE TICKETS. I take some of the blame for not properly motivating ya’ll in the area of activity. Overall activity last year (2008) was well below the district average… Because activity plays such a high part of an everyday road trooper’s requirement, it is going to weigh heavy on yearly evaluation scores.”
These scores, with ‘five’ being the highest rating, are key to winning promotions, extra pay and the most desirable types of assignments. According to the memo, scoring is based solely on the number of tickets issued, although other factors such as routinely failing to follow orders can result in a lowered score. Babits set six hundred tickets a year, or three tickets per day, as the bare minimum.
“Let me stress I am not putting a quota on anyone,” Babits wrote. “I don’t care if a trooper writes below the 600 mark, it is his or her evaluation score, not mine. If a trooper turns in 600 citations per year, his or her overall evaluation will not be above the average score of three… I must be able to justify giving a trooper a five. Low activity is a killer.”
It takes 800 citations per year, or four tickets per day, to earn the top score. A rating of four is earned by writing 700 tickets per year or 3.5 per day. Those who fail to exceed the average score of three are punished by not being allowed to earn time-and-a-half pay on overtime assignments.
“Effective immediately, a trooper that does not produce above average activity (17.5 tickets per week) will not be able to work grant overtime in my county,” Babits wrote.
Tennessee Highway Patrol officials deny any quota exists. Many state police forces use the average number of tickets written by troops or stations to encourage a steady year-on-year increase in the number of speeding tickets issued.
Source:The Newspaper: Tennessee Highway Patrol Ticket Quota Uncovered and Troop C Memo (Tennessee Highway Patrol, 7/10/2009)
The memo in question
I can no longer justify 5’s on evaluations for troopers not producing
activity. I require three things, 1. Answer the radio, 2. Work your
crashes, and 3. WRITE TICKETS. I take some of the blame for not
properly motivating ya’ll in the area of activity. Overall activity last
year (2008) for the entire post was well below the district average. If
not for a couple of trooopers pulling their weight we would be in the
Because activity plays such a high part of an everyday road
trooper’s requirement, it is going to weigh heavily on yearly evaluation
scores. If a trooper is lucky enough to have a high promotional score
and needs the 3 points awarded for a 5 on an evaluation, it is going to
have to be earned.
Now, the average trooper works 10 months out of a year. This is
taking into account vacations, training, sick leave, or whatever may
come up. Out of those 10 months of work I feel that an AVERAGE
trooper will write 600 citations. AVERAGE IS A THREE ON AN
Let me stress I am not putting a quota on anyone, I don’t care if a
trooper writes below the 600 mark, it is his or her evaluation score,
not mine. 600 citations is an average of 60 citations per month, 15
citations per week, or 3 citations per day. So to fairly rate a person
on an evaluation, I must have a fair standard to justify a score on an
evaluation. I can guarantee if I award a 5 to an underachiever my
superiors, for lack of justification, will return it.
As stated earlier if a trooper turns in 600 citations per year, his or
her overall evaluation will not be above the average score of 3. Even
if he or she excels in all other areas, activity will weigh heavy in the
final tabulation. Look at the job plan, not only is activity an area of
concern, obedience to orders is an area. By Not conforming to the
request of the Lieutenant and me in this area the trooper is failing to
carry out an order, and the evaluation will reflect that. Is a trooper
showing concern for the department by not performing the required
job task, no he or she is not, and that will reflect in the final
evaluation. Is the trooper using his or her time wisely, again no. If a
trooper drives around all day and does not produce activity this will
reflect on the final evaluation. I MUST BE ABLE TO JUSTIFY
GIVING A TROOPER A 5. Low activity is a killer.
The following is the standard I will go by to judge activity in this post.
600 citations per year = 60 tickets per month, or 15 citations per
week. That is 3 tickets per day
This is average and average is 3.
700 citations per year = 70 tickets per month, or 17.5 citations
per week. That is 3.5 tickets per day
This is slightly above average and that could get a trooper a 4.
800 citations per year = 80 tickets per month, or 20 citations per
week. That is 4 tickets per day.
This along with excelling in your other duties can justify a 5.
Effective immediately, a trooper that does not produce above
average activity (17.5 tickets per week) will not be able to work grant
overtime in my county. We are limited on the the amount of overtime we
have and it will be given to troopers that work hard during their
regular shifts. If nobody qualifies for grant overtime in this county I
will offer it to outside troopers, or return it to Nashville. If a trooper
doesn’t earn it, he or she will not get it!
I know owe have more responsibilities now than we used to but , if
troopers throughout the district can write 1000 tickets per year, then
my troopers can too. I think I have the best troopers in the district
and want to give everyone a 5, but people I have to justify it, so it’s
crunch time. GO TO WORK!
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