ABC15 Exclusive Investigation: Do Arizona DPS officers have to meet traffic ticket, arrest quotas?

PHOENIX - Most drivers know that uncomfortable feeling when you're cruising down the highway and you suddenly see those blue lights in your rear view mirror.

Getting pulled over by police may mean a costly traffic ticket, or it may not.

That might depend, at least in part, on the amount of discretion a police officer has.  

So do Arizona cops have a specific number of traffic tickets or DUI arrests they have to make each year?

Documents obtained by the ABC15 Investigators might help answer that question.

A memo sent to Department of Public Safety patrol officers spells out exactly how many tickets cops have to write to meet internal performance review standards.

A DPS sergeant, who the ABC15 Investigators are not identifying, wrote to DPS officers who patrol the Southeast Valley and areas of Interstate 10.

He tells his patrol officers exactly how many traffic stops and how many arrests they have to make every year to meet requirements.    

The memo also includes specific numbers officers have to meet for warnings, citations, seatbelt citations and arrests for drunk driving.  

Steven Bacs from the National Motorists Association tells the ABC15 Investigators that is just like having a quota and it's not a good thing.

"Quotas take discretion away from the police officer," said Bacs.

Bacs also insists, "I think quotas drive officers to make poor decisions."

We asked DPS about what appears to be quotas set out in the memo.

Arizona DPS Spokesperson Officer Tim Case insists they are not quotas.

"We don't have quotas here," Case said.

Officer Case calls the requirements performance standards and says that it's just a way the department has to make sure officers are doing their jobs.

You can read the documents we obtained and decide for yourself.

Police quotas are banned in states including New York, New Jersey, Michigan, Texas and Maryland but not in Arizona. 

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