ST. PAUL (AP) -- A police commander has been handed a three-day suspension for writing a memo that appeared to set quotas for traffic tickets.
Commander Tom Smith had been promoted just a month ago and faced a possible demotion back to sergeant because of the incident.
But St. Paul Police spokesman Michael Jordan said Monday a three-day unpaid suspension will be the only penalty. "The total discipline is three days," he said.
Smith wrote a memo last month that said officers should write a minimum of 200 tickets a year. His superiors say the memo does not reflect department policy.
He can appeal the suspension through his union. He would serve the suspension after the appeals process is completed.
St. Paul Police Federation President Brad Jacobsen said the discipline won't deter the union from filing suit to bar the department from using quotas. The lawsuit will also seek to stop the department from using data on how many tickets an officer writes to evaluate performance.
The issue has been simmering between the department and union members for years. Last year, in a report evaluating departmental performance and morale, about a dozen officers accused the department of having a quota system in place.
Jacobsen noted that his own job performance rating was lowered when his superiors determined that he had not issued enough citations.
When he asked how many was enough, he said, he was told that there is no specific number because that would be a violation of state law.
Last week, however, Jacobsen released a copy of a Sept. 26 memo written by Smith which seemed to confirm the existence of a quota system.
The memo states: "Remember that to be fully competent in this discipline, the officer should have a minimum of 200 total (citations). ... Any officers who have under 200 total ... should be marked Needs Improvement, and we should develop a plan to assist them."
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