Target: U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, Jr.
Goal: Investigate and permanently end the use of arrest quotas in U.S. police departments
Certain police departments in different parts of the country have been found to use arrest quotas. Arrest quotas pressure officers to charge at least a certain number of people with crimes over a given time period. Most notably, the New York Police Department has been found to use this tactic, primarily as a way to increase revenue for the state, and arguably as a service to the private prison industry. Setting quotas for arrests, traffic tickets, or any kind of criminal charges is an inherently corrupt policy, with the obvious result of leading officers to abuse their power and fabricate charges.
At best, quotas are an entirely illogical way to reduce crime, and at worst, a simple excuse for officers to trample civil rights. What happens if there literally aren’t enough crimes over a given period of time to fill the arrest quotas for a given police department? There have been multiple cases of officers planting drugs on innocent people in order to fill such quotas; a single instance of an abuse like this should be enough to get rid of quotas altogether, yet in some places it continues to be standard policy.
Police already hold so much power over individual citizens, its absurd to think we should give them any reason to overstep their legal bounds, but that is exactly what arrest quotas do. By requiring a certain number of criminal charges from each officer, quotas encourage police to look for ways to incriminate otherwise innocent people. Policies like this have no place in a democracy. Sign the petition to demand that Attorney General Eric Holder investigate and put an end to the use of arrest quotas in American police departments.
Dear Mr. Holder,
Over recent years numerous police departments around the country have been exposed for having arrest quotas, meaning that officers are required to issue a certain number of criminal charges for a given period of time. Policies like this clearly encourage police misconduct by forcing officers to look for any possible reason to charge people with crimes. There have already been multiple cases of officers planting drugs on innocent people in order to fill arrest quotas. This needs to stop.
Arrest quotas would be so absurdly misguided as a crime prevention tactic that they really must have an ulterior motive, such as increasing state revenue, or enriching private prison companies. A democracy does not allow its citizens to be traded like commodities between police, courts, and prisons. Please help protect the rights of Americans by investigating the use of arrest quotas, and putting a stop to them wherever they are found.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: PaulSteinJC via Flickr