What Really Motivates The Highway Patrol? - NewsChannel5.com | Nashville News, Weather & Sports

What Really Motivates The Highway Patrol?

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SPRINGFIELD, Tenn. - A memo seems to spell out a ticket quota policy for the Tennessee Highway Patrol. NewsChannel5 Investigates found proof that quotas do exist in Middle Tennessee.

Law enforcement supervisors at every level said quotas are bad policy and they insist quotas do not exist.

A memo was posted at the THP headquarters in Springfield for all troopers to see and the message in black and white seems crystal clear - write more tickets or else.

Sgt. Cliff Babits name is on the memo posted this past February. Troopers are warned the number of tickets written will influence their evaluations and that ‘low activity is a killer.'

The author writes, ‘Let me stress I am not putting a quota on anyone.' But on the very next page there's a three to five point scoring system.

Troopers are rewarded for a higher score, 600 citations per year = 60 tickets per month. This is average and average is 3.

Then 700 citations per year = 70 tickets per month. This is slightly above average and that could get a trooper a 4.

Finally, 800 citations per year = 80 tickets per month. This along with excelling in your other duties can justify a 5.

Attorney Fletcher Long obtained a copy of the memo from an angry client. He's long argued in court that quotas exist with no success, but now he has proof.

"It's appalling. Absolutely appalling," said Long. "It's just very clear here that's the quota system."

Perhaps most disturbing to those who've seen the memo - this paragraph: ‘Effective immediately, a trooper that does not produce above average activity (17.5 tickets per week) will not be able to work grant overtime in my county. If a trooper doesn't earn it, he or she will not get it!'

So was THP sergeant Cliff Babits pressured by higher-ups to produce more tickets? If so - how widespread is the quota policy?

NewsChannel5 Investigates put those questions to Col. Mike Walker, head of the state highway patrol; you'll be surprised to hear what Babits has to say about the memo. That part of the story Tuesday at 10 p.m.

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