Arlington County’s police chief has acknowledged a pattern of internal memos dating back years that direct officers to make a minimum number of arrests and issue a certain number of traffic citations each month.
Chief M. Douglas Scott said that the memos did not amount to a quota system but that they could be interpreted that way. He has called quotas “professionally unsound” and has since directed his staff not to issue quotas or anything resembling them.
Scott was prompted to look at past memos to patrol staff after he rescinded a similar memo last month that threatened discipline for those who didn’t make enough arrests or write enough tickets. When he read older memos, he said, he learned that the practice was years old.
Scott is dealing with an issue that police chiefs across the nation grapple with as they work to give officers guidance without pushing them into arrests and ticket-writing.