Ex-officers seek to stop traffic grants

From the El Paso Times - By Daniel Borunda -Five former El Paso police officers have filed a request for an injunction against city officials, alleging police have an illegal quota system for traffic tickets. The ex-officers claim they were forced to resign, but City Manager Joyce Wilson said the officers resigned when faced with termination linked to allegations of falsified time sheets. The petition for an injunction was filed last week in the 34th District Court and seeks to stop the El Paso Police Department from using state traffic enforcement grants and alleges that a quota system is being used. Each officer was with the department for more than 10 years until their resignations in late August and September. They are represented by lawyers Stuart Leeds and Theresa Caballero. Leeds and Caballero provided the El Paso Times with a copy of an internal police email where a traffic sergeant complains to officers that not enough citations are being issued as part of a Click-It-or-Ticket seat-belt enforcement grant. The May 26 email by Sgt. Jack Matthews of the Traffic Division stated "the performance standard set forth in the grant is a minimum of three seat-belt violations per hour of work per officer. If you think that you cannot meet this goal during your five-hour shift, then do not work the grant ... those that do not produce what is required will not be considered to work any traffic-related grants in the future." Leeds said the email is proof that a quota system, though using a different name, is used by the Police Department in violation of state law. Read more


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