AirTalk for December 11, 2013

LA settles for $6 million over traffic ticket quota allegations

Ticket on N. Cahuenga Blvd.

Chris Yarzab/Flickr

An unidentified police officer writes a ticket on N. Cahuenga Blvd. in Hollywood, CA.

Eleven LAPD officers who claim they were forced to meet a quota of traffic citations each shift have been awarded nearly $6 million in a settlement that was approved by the  L.A. City Council on Tuesday.

RELATED: Los Angeles to settle officers' lawsuits for $6M

The officers allege their superiors imposed a secret quota system to boost the number of tickets even though those quotas violate state law. Two lawsuits claim Capt. Nancy Lauer required officers in  the West Traffic Division motorcycle unit to write at least 18 tickets each shift with at least 80 percent of them being for major violations.

The settlement brings the total of taxpayer money spent on payouts and legal fees from the case to $10 million. The settlement decision follows a 2011 jury award of $2 million to two motorcycle officers in a similar case.

The LAPD denies it used quotas and Chief Charlie Beck described them as "goals" to reduce traffic accidents.

"It is unfortunate that this case cost the city hard-earned taxpayers money," Beck said in a statement. "The goal has always been to improve the productivity and accountability of our officers in order to reduce serious and fatal traffic collisions."

Beck said that the West Traffic Division gave officers the goal of spending 80 percent of their time on traffic code violations that could lead to serious injuries or deaths, but that, "this was not a quota system under the law."

Weigh In: Should taxpayers be on the hook for the LAPD's mistakes? Should issues like this be handled inside the LAPD without going to court? Does this confirm many Angeleno's suspicions that officers write more tickets because of quotas?

Guest: 

Dennis Zine, former City Council member who served 33 years with the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD), 18 years on a motorcycle

With contributions from the Associated Press


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