Emails suggest TN Highway Patrol setting ticket quotas for troopers

Emails sent to West Tennessee state troopers indicate “what some say are quotas set by high ups at the Tennessee Highway Patrol,” reports WREG-TV of Memphis.

A set of emails were anonymously sent to WREG… Through a Freedom of information Act request we asked for the emails directly from the state and discovered they said the same thing.

In one email dated December 12, 2017 subject line, “Seat Belt Enforcement”  a captain writes, “At the beginning of the year I set a goal for all troopers to issue at least 200 CRD and seat belt citations.”

It went on to say, “I asked that the few of you that have not met our goal to finish the year strong.” Also saying, “We are doing a fantastic job in this area and I think it has contributed to the success we are having in a decrease in fatalities.”

However, other emails have a much harsher tone.

Another email from a Sergeant sent a month later, subject, “Expectations of Haywood County Troopers,” calls for more inspections and more citations no exceptions.

The Sergeant called for specific inspections, saying if that doesn’t happen troopers will be reassigned per the Captain.

The sergeant discusses different levels of inspections saying, “If the weather is nice road troopers should have no less than 30 citations a week no exceptions. If activity does not improve troopers will be reassigned per the Captain.”

And in a third email sent January 15 from a supervisor’s meeting a list of expectations are laid out, 40 commercial vehicle inspections should be completed by June 30th, 60 total should be completed in 2018.

… We looked into the law, part of it stating, “A political subdivision or any agency of this state may not require or suggest to a law enforcement officer that the law enforcement officer is required or expected to issue a predetermined or specified number or any type of combination of types of traffic citations within a specified period.”

… WREG reached out to THP to get their side, they did not respond to our request for an interview but gave this statement:

The Tennessee Highway Patrol is a professional law enforcement agency that is charged to conduct traffic enforcement. If our troopers do not perform duties that they are charged with, then that leads to property damage, injury and fatal crashes on Tennessee roads. The citizens of Tennessee expect and deserve our troopers to patrol and take the appropriate enforcement steps needed to prevent those crashes.  If our troopers are not pulling over speeding motorist, drivers under the influence, reckless drivers, distracted drivers, motorist not wearing their seat belts and so on, then people die. In 2017, 1,039 people were killed on Tennessee roadways.  Could you imagine how high that number would be if our troopers did not do their job, and if our supervisors did not do theirs?  Most people who work for a living have a supervisor, and those supervisors expect an honest day’s work for an honest day’s pay.  The Tennessee Highway Patrol is no different.  The only difference is, if our troopers do not perform their duty and enforce traffic violations then we ultimately fail the citizens and visitors of this state and as I stated previously people die.  We do not have quotas as you suggested.

Note: The Johnson City Press had a series of stories in 2015 suggesting THP had a quota system for DUI arrests. Previous post on Col. Tracy Trott, Patrol commander, disputing the notion is HERE.

4 Responses to Emails suggest TN Highway Patrol setting ticket quotas for troopers

  • Ann says:

    If only they would give tickets for all the stuff hanging out from the back of pickup trucks, black exhaust, and reckless driving!

  • Tommy Ray McAnally says:

    Hey why AIN’T THE STATE TOOPERS doing somehing about these no good 18 WHEELERS. RECAP DEBRIS, LOG BOOKS, DURGS, NOT USING THE RIGHT TWO LANES, SPEED. Looks like somebody is turning their head and letting this DEADLY ISSUE SLIDE. I know somebody that WILL STOP THIS! By the at Troopers ain’t enough money anyway. I know somebody that will change that GUARANTEES. Again ANYBODY BUT JUDD MATHENY,DIANE BLACK,MARSHA BLACKBURN,ALEXANDER,DAJARIA.JIM COOPER. Who is prettier JIM COOPER OR DIANE BLACK.

    • Lance Persson says:

      BILL LEE looks better than both of them.
      Love the fact that he has never held political office, knows how to lead (his success growing his company and his employees shows that), and is open on where he stands on all the issues.

    • Gray says:

      If you don’t like trucks, then don’t buy stuff. Look around you. Everything you see was delivered by a truck. Even the supplies that made your house or trailer. Even your car was delivered by a truck. 99.9% of truckers don’t use drugs. We run electronic logs so our logs are always legal. Most trucks you see on the highways are governed at 65mph or lower. If you don’t like us, then stop buying the stuff we deliver.

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