Thursday, December 19, 2013

LAPD Captain in Traffic Ticket Quotagate under fire ... from a Cop!

Last week LA residents reeled over the high cost of poor management in LAPD that resulted in a multi-million dollar settlement caused by LAPD Captain Nancy Lauer's mismanagement of motor officers under her command. 11 officers complained of being forced to write 18 traffic tickets a day - an illegal quota under state law. They sued, they won $5.9M. The taxpayer picks up the tab, not LAPD, not the Captain.

KABC's Doug McIntyre was the lone voice in the media who asked the question, why aren't Lauer and the higher-ups in LAPD who supervised her being held responsible for the cost of this outrage?

McIntye blasted the silence of the lambs (City Hall) in his Daily News Op-Ed, posing a few inconvenient questions that neither City Hall nor LAPD want to answer:

"If Capt. Lauer is guilty of ordering officers to write tickets based on quotas in violation of state law, why isn’t she being prosecuted?" 
"Why is she still employed by the LAPD?" 
"Why has she been promoted?" 
"Why is she still on the list for future promotions?"

Now, it seems, comes an answer, and it's not pretty...

The answer comes from pseudonymous LAPD Cop "Jack Dunphy." Here's an excerpt from what he wrote at PJ Media:

"... it’s important that I explore for the reader some of the LAPD’s inner workings. When I became a cop more than 30 years ago, I assumed one had to be pretty smart to promote to the rank of sergeant, and even smarter to make it to lieutenant. To promote to captain, I assumed, one must be possessed of extraordinary intelligence, and to go beyond captain, to the ranks of commander and deputy chief, required nothing less than genius. It did not take long to disabuse me of these notions. Yes, there are some exceptionally bright people in the upper ranks of the LAPD, but there are of course just as many at the opposite end of the bell curve. And even among the smarter ones there are those for whom leadership is something to be talked about rather than practiced.

So from time to time there comes along a captain who has been wafted aloft through the ranks on the basis of considerations other than the ability to manage and lead. When such a person has proven himself inept at the rank of captain in one of the LAPD’s 21 patrol stations, he (or she, as the case may be) is sometimes installed in one of the city’s four traffic divisions under the theory that it is there, where the scope of his command is limited, that he can cause less damage to the department and the city. Captains assigned to traffic divisions know this and resent it, and they sometimes take their resentments out on their subordinates in the form of unreasonable expectations. For the seasoned motor cop, an unbroken line of marginal captains brings its frustrations, especially when each successive one tries to increase “productivity,” i.e., ticket writing, through suspect means.

Such was the case at West Traffic Division, from whose officers these lawsuits originated. The captain in question had transferred in from a patrol station where her leadership was found wanting, a deficiency that, ironically, earned her a promotion into the commanding officer’s chair at West Traffic. Eager to prove herself, she demanded that officers increase their ticket production, going so far as to memorialize in writing when they failed to do so. Her management style was all stick and no carrot, and some of the officers responded as anyone with common sense would have expected. In the 2011 case, a jury agreed with the officers that the captain had imposed a de facto quota; when the officers in the more recent case made identical claims with identical evidence, the city had little choice but to settle the case for about half the amount a jury would likely have awarded.

And in case you’re wondering, the captain has been promoted and transferred yet again, much to the delight of her former subordinates and the chagrin of her new ones. I haven’t yet heard of any lawsuits coming out of her current command, but I suppose it’s just a matter of time."


Click here for the full text of "Jack Dunphy's" article.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Perhaps the $6M payout would not have been so high if Carmen the Clown hadn't screwed up the first case where 2 cops got $2M. In that case the Clown decided to go to trial, rejecting an offer to settle for $500k. Then, when the $2M verdict came in, the Clown blew the deadline to file an appeal which even the plaintiffs lawyers agreed, would have cut the award in half.

I don't like Mike Feuer's politics, but at least he is a smart lawyer, not an arrogant a*hole like Trutanich.

Good post, Friday.