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Taxation Through Citation? Police Officer Claims He Was Fired for Opposing Ticket Quotas

A former Alabama police officer claims he was fired for speaking out against traffic ticket quotas. Justin Hanners said he objected to the practice of meeting a certain number of citations per month. The Auburn police division denies his claims.

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Secret recordings of alleged supervisor, Sgt. Tray Neal, from the Auburn Police Department, tell a different story. A year ago, Sgt. Neal was recorded saying, “Officers will have 100 contacts per month, minimum. 40 of those may be warnings for traffic, the other 60 will be divided between traffic citations, non-traffic citations, field interviews and custodial arrests. Do not be the one that does not get to 100.”

Hanners told Fox and Friends that the department claimed this would cut down on burglaries. “I haven’t seen that reflected in the stats.”

He believes the real purpose is “taxation through citation.” Hanners said he and the other officers who opposed this were told they needed to get “meat tickets,” or tickets that have a fine.

Meeting a quota causes officers to lower their standards for issuing tickets, he said. “It also distracts us from doing other things, like patrolling businesses, residential areas, following up on misdemeanor cases that detectives can’t get to.”

The city said they’ve investigated Hanner’s accusations and found them to be false. Auburn City Manager Charles M. Duggan, Jr. said in a statement: “A former police officer who was terminated … over three months ago has made false and unsubstantiated allegations surrounding … the basis for his termination. Patrol Officers’ expectations do include enforcing traffic laws … not in response to quotas, but in response to violations of the law.”

Hanners claims the city previously said that they had disciplined the sergeant who made those statements. Pointing out that contradiction, he said, “You can’t fix something that’s unfounded.”

Since going public with his story, Hanners said officers in other cities have reached out to say their departments require quotas as well. 

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