Announcement a shot in union battle over quota
By Don Bond
Danielson, Conn. — The Connecticut State Police Union took the unusual step Tuesday of warning motorists of what the union claims will be a 24-hour ticket blitz today in the northeastern Connecticut territory covered by the Danielson barracks.
The union’s warning indicated the ticket blitz will run from midnight through 11:59 p.m. today in the 13 northeastern Connecticut towns the barracks patrols.
The warning is part of the union’s ongoing battle with state police administrators, claiming the efforts by barracks commanders to increase enforcement efforts by writing more tickets is creating a quota system.
It cites a memo issued by the commanding officer of Troop I in Bethany who, on March 30, told his troopers they needed to write “at least 60 infraction/misdemeanor tickets on each of the troop’s three shifts for a total of 180 infractions to outperform both Troop F and Troop G.”
State police administrators have said there is no quota system, and department spokesman Lt. J. Paul Vance has characterized the memo as an effort by a barracks commander to increase enforcement to help prevent accidents.
Vance did not return several calls to his office Wednesday for comment for this story.
While saying troopers are committed to making Connecticut roads safer, the union said it “strongly objects to any quotas or initiatives where the public is targeted as a means of generating revenue for the state.”
The union said Section 29-2(b) of the Connecticut General Statutes prohibits “a specified number for motor vehicle violations to be issued within a specified period of time.” The union also said department policy and state law give troopers the authority to use discretion when enforcing traffic laws.
In its warning, the union cited a memo written by Lt. Timothy Madden, commanding officer at Troop D, who allegedly urged troopers to be “highly productive and perhaps we can be the top dog in the district.”
In its news release, the union claims its members were “alarmed and spoke out against this action to no avail.”
“State police union members are committed to making the roads and highways of this state as safe as possible,” the news release concludes. “However, we believe this can be better accomplished through a combination of public awareness announcements and appropriate enforcement action, not through a process of competition and rewards.”
The news release did not attribute the union’s comments to Sgt. Andrew Matthews, union president, or to any other officer of the union.