We’ve all been there. You’re driving down the road, on a day towards the end of the month. Sure enough, there’s a row of police officers in an area where the speed goes from 55 MPH to 25 MPH. A few seconds later, you’re zapped for a hefty speeding ticket, a violation of Maryland DUI laws. Now you’re worried about points, your license, going to jail and your insurance going up. We’ve all been there. Driving down the road, on a day usually towards the end of the month, and sure enough, there is a row of police officers in an area where the speed goes from 55 MPH to 25 MPH. A few seconds later, you’re zapped for a hefty speeding ticket, a violation of Maryland DUI laws, you’re worried about points, your license, going to jail and your insurance going up.
The whole time you get the sense that you’ve been intentionally targeted or tricked because the officers have to meet some “quotas” for the end of the month (and the dozen other people the officers have stopped).
Quotas are a dirty word in law enforcement circles. For good reasons. First they are illegal. Pursuant to Public Safety Article 3-504:
(b)…A law enforcement agency may not:
- Establish a formal or informal quota for the law enforcement agency or law enforcement officers of the agency; or
- Use the number of arrests made or citations issued by a law enforcement officer as the sole or primary criterion for promotion, demotion, dismissal, or transfer of the officer.
Second, they induce improper incentives in our law enforcement officers. I mean think about it – if a police officer has to meet a certain set of numbers every month and it affects his/her promotions, scheduling, transfers – then what is that officer going to do to ensure he/she meets those quotas?
The sad answer is that the officer should simply report the truth – but a system of quotas and incentives give an officer a reason to push, fudge, and search for incidents – all to hit their mark. Now, that’s not to say that any officers do manufacture evidence – but you can easily see how and why the Maryland General Assembly passed this law – to remove Quotas and such improper incentives.
Howard County DUI
That’s what made last week so interesting for any Maryland Attorney who watches/reads the news. An enterprising attorney obtained internal memoranda from the Howard County Police Department that actually outlined a quota system and kudos to the judge who suppressed the evidence in the case as a result of the implementation of that system. Just look at what has happened to the attorney and the judge. The attorney’s website appears to have been hacked as of this publication and the Baltimore Sun has several editorials blasting her actions (despite being completely consistent with what the law does and should require).
But that Howard County DUI is just further evidence that quotas do exist, in an albiet veiled manner. Unfortunately it takes a good Maryland Attorney to root out such violations of the law and hold the system accountable.