Amid the back and forth yesterday between prosecutors against North Charleston Police Officer Michael Slager and his defense, led by Andy Savage, came one little nugget that seemingly has the Lowcountry all abuzz: According to Slager’s defense, the NCPD has a quota system. The P&C’s Andrew Knapp reports:
To his defense team, Slager was doing his job when he stopped Scott’s car, trying to fulfill his department-mandated quota of three traffic stops every shift for minor violations. In the eyes of some observers, it amounted to a stunning indictment of North Charleston police policy that affirms residents’ long-held complaints…
Word of the North Charleston Police Department’s quota policy served as the most significant revelation, aired publicly for the first time by Slager’s lead attorney, Andy Savage. But attorneys for Scott’s family said they also had uncovered policies pointing Slager down a career path that ended April 4 at Remount and Craig roads. One of the lawyers, state Rep. Justin Bamberg, vowed to file legislation that would ban police quotas in South Carolina.
Bamberg said the quota system was a “monster in the closet” that North Charleston residents had complained about for years while few officials listened.
A police spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
“Every jaw in the courtroom dropped to hear that admission,” another family attorney, Chris Stewart, said. “To hear it confirmed … was shocking.”
Shocking, yes. But all too common. And, well, City Paper readers have known for years that the Charleston Police Department has a quota system as well — it’s just that they call them, um, “goals.” Way back in 2009, Greg Hambrick reported:
A recent e-mail to the city’s traffic officers sets goals for citations and check points and threatens reassignment and “permanent days off.”
The goals are meant to motivate a few lax officers and aren’t quotas, says Lt. Chip Searson, the traffic enforcement commander. He sent out the e-mail to his staff last week after Chief Gregg Mullen questioned the team’s productivity. The City Paper got a copy of the e-mail through an anonymous tip…
The weekly goals break down to about two tickets an hour for traffic officers and a little more than one an hour for cops on one of two DUI units. Each unit is expected to have two check points a week.
I don’t know about you, but that monster got out of the closet a long, long time ago.
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