ST. PAUL (AP) -- The St. Paul police union is threatening to file a lawsuit against the city, which the union says is illegally pressuring officers to meet quotas for writing traffic tickets.
But Police Chief William Finney insisted Friday that his department does not impose quotas on its officers.
Finney said the department reviewed the number of traffic citations written by officers as a means of evaluating job performance.
"There is no quota for police officers to write a specific number of tickets," Finney said. "However, having said that, traffic enforcement is a high priority for the city of St. Paul. It's a high priority for the citizens. They want traffic strictly enforced, and I expect officers to do that. But there is no numerical quota."
Brad Jacobsen, president of the St. Paul Police Federation, disagreed.
"I believe that there are ticket quotas," Jacobsen said. "They've danced around this for a number of years. It's a revenue-generation thing for the city."
Jacobsen said the union will file a lawsuit in Ramsey County District Court asking for an injunction preventing the department from enforcing any quotas or evaluating officers based on tickets issued.
To support its claim, the union pointed to a series of documents, including one memo that Jacobsen called a "smoking gun." The Sept. 26 memo from an unidentified police commander said that performance evaluations should note whether officers met a minimum standard of 200 moving violation tickets, or movers, per year.
The memo violated department policy, Finney said. "That commander will be disciplined as soon as I found out who did it," the chief said. "That is clearly against the law, and they have been told not to do that."
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