A new police memo having to do with the number of stops officers are being asked to make has started raising eyebrows.
Kansas City Police Department officers are now required to conduct a certain number of stops during their shifts, according to a memo obtained this week by KCTV5 News.
KCPD Patrol Bureau Staff Meeting memo sent out on March 26 said that, effective Tuesday, patrol officers will be "expected to conduct two self-initiated events and one hazardous moving violation each work day."
A former law enforcement officer says he can see the motive behind the new rules, but that those alone don't effectively show how well officers are doing.
"There must be a criteria in which the police department can measure the performance of individual officers. Traffic summons and arrests are a valid metric, but they can't be looked at in isolation of everything else," said former FBI agent Michael Tabman.
Tabman says a supervisor could use the number of stops to compare officers in the same section of town, but he feels it only provides a small glimpse into an officer's performance.
"We'd get statistics, at the end of the month, if he had continuously more arrests than me, or many more traffic tickets than me. It is a fair question for my sergeant to ask, 'What are you doing all day?'"
KCPD verified the authenticity of the memo obtained by the KCTV5 Investigative team. When asked for comment, a spokesperson with the police department sent an email statement that reads:
"This is not as much a policy as it is a commander's expectation of activity."
"While not necessarily, policy, expectations of activity and good police work are nothing new and they get revisited from time to time. Keep in mind that self-initiated activity does not equate to enforcement. It more appropriately equates to efficient and productive use of time."
"It screams that there is going to be a pressure on police officers to do more stops then are reasonably required in the course of their day," said Doug Bonney, legal director of the ACLU of Kansas.
Bonney says other cities, like New York City, have police stop quotas that have been challenged in court. He feels setting a number on police stops does more damage to civil rights than helps protect the community.
"If you have a well-trained and conscientious police force, you're going to protect the public. Imposing quotas will not do anything to protect the public," Bonney said.
The memo not only puts requirements on street officers but higher-ranking offers in command. This includes developing a "scorecard" that will be "readily available and observed by peers" when dealing with performance expectations.
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