11 News is learning more about the alleged ticket quota happening within the Colorado Springs Police Department.
A group who represents our local police officers, the Colorado Springs Police Protective Association (CSPPA), is reacting to the allegations.
Two Colorado Springs police officers came forward to expose what they call a big problem. They say the CSPD brass is pushing a traffic ticket quota.
"They're asking us to do something that I believe is ethically wrong," one officer said.
On Tuesday afternoon the CSPPA president addressed those allegations.
"I have never been given the impression that officers should be writing a certain number of tickets no matter what the cost,” Barry Freeman said.
Sources tell us they have to fulfill this traffic ticket quota while other non-emergent calls in the city go unanswered.
“I believe if officers are being pressured to stay on a traffic stop, then yes that should be addressed. I feel comfortable our staff would handle that appropriately,” said Freeman.
Officers say there are negative consequences if you don't write enough traffic tickets for the year. He says you are put on a “performance plan.”
“To our knowledge--and I also contacted our attorney as well as staff officers--there's never been an officer placed on a performance plan based solely on traffic tickets. If there is, we're not aware of it. So, I’m not going to say it never happened but no one we spoke to is aware of that,” Mike Ray said.
The association says they would like the officers who spoke with us to contact them and file formal complaints so they can investigate it.
Previous Story from February 3rd -------------------------------------------------
Officers with the Colorado Springs Police Department are coming forward to us to talk about a problem within the department.
We talked with those officers, who say much of their time is spent writing traffic tickets, and filling their quota when other calls in the city go unanswered.
One of the officers gave us a letter that cites several problems within the department. He says the CSPD brass is pushing a revenue-generated traffic ticket quota. We disguised his voice during the interview to protect his identity.
“When it becomes the priority of the brass for us to write tickets rather than do other things, then public safety is definitely hurting."
The source says if someone calls police to report that their house was broken into, and there is an officer in the middle of clocking speeders, the way it's set up in the department right now, that officer has more incentive to finish writing traffic tickets and get closer to his quota than to respond to that burglary.
“They're asking us to do something that I believe is ethically wrong. Enforcing traffic law is important. If someone does something unsafe and we have time to deal with them, we should. But making it our number one priority at the expense of other more important things is wrong."
The officer says there are not enough officers to respond to crimes and to do traffic patrol. He says if an officer doesn't write enough traffic tickets, he or she will be put on a “performance plan".
“In my mind it is punishment, because they put you on this performance plan. You're not allowed to apply for a specialized unit; if the department gets a raise, you don’t get a raise, you can't transfer divisions. There are sanctions against you for not writing enough tickets."
11 News requested an interview with Police Chief Pete Carey, but he refused our request.
Instead he issued this statement: “When there are high-priority calls for service or when an emergency call is aired, officers can clear the traffic contact and respond. Officers are able to discern when to clear for emergency calls."
His statement did not address the alleged traffic ticket quota, but Chief Carey did say he has set goals for his deputy chiefs and commanders in regards to traffic safety.