A New York City police officer is alleging that his department has arrest quotas that result in innocent people being arrested.
Officer Adil Polanco told WABC channel 7 in New York that his precinct — the 41st in the Bronx — has a “20 and one” monthly quota, meaning each officer is expected to issue at least 20 summonses per month, and carry out at least 1 arrest.
If the officer doesn’t meet the quota, the result can be denial of overtime pay, shift changes and denial of days off, Polanco said.
The force’s “obsession with keeping crime stats down” is resulting in innocent people being arrested and charged, and often the targeted are minorities, reports WABC.
“Our primary job is not to assist anybody, our primary job is get those numbers and come back with them,” Polanco said.
WABC obtained audio purportedly of shift supervisors at the 41st precinct talking openly about the quota system.
“If you think one and 20 is breaking your balls, guess what? You’re going to be doing a lot more, a lot more than what you think,” an officer is heard saying.
In another part of the audio, an officer identified only as a control supervisor can be heard saying, “Next week you could be 25 and one, you could be 35 and one, and guess what? Until you decide to quit this job and be a Pizza Hut delivery man, this is what you are going to be doing until then.”
“He’s being clear — the only choice we have is to do it,” Polanco told WABC.
Polanco explained that it makes sense for officers to arrest people who have done nothing wrong because “even if the crime is not committed, the number is there.”
Gothamist blog notes that the allegations the NYPD has arrest quotas follow rumors to that effect that have been circulating for years, and also notes that the allegations come hot on the heels of claims that the police force “routinely fabricated or manipulated” crime statistics since a tracking system was put into place in 1995.
NYPD Deputy Commissioner Paul Browne told WABC, “Police officers, like others who receive compensation, are provided productivity goals and they are expected to work.”
The following video was broadcast on WABC, channel 7 in New York, on March 3, 2010, and uploaded to YouTube by user Uaffilms.