“We needed to get some money in the kitty.”
By Dana Hertneky
ELMORE CITY, Oklahoma – An Elmore City police chief says he was fired for not writing enough tickets.
The former chief says he was told by the mayor there was a ticket quota and when he refused to meet it, he was let go.
News 9 checked with an attorney who says ticket quotas are illegal and a violation of a police officer’s oath. But the former chief and others who used to work for the city tell News 9 the mayor made it clear, he expected a certain amount of tickets to be written every day.
Word around Elmore City is if you’re from out of town and you drive through, you will probably get a ticket.
“The city of Elmore has a quota for citations,” said Joe Henselee.
Henselee knows because he used to be the police chief until the town’s mayor fired him about a month ago. His assistant chief was let go about two months before that. Henslee says it was for the same reason.
“I don’t remember the exact words, if you don’t make the quota, if you don’t do your job he will let you go. That’s exactly what he did,” said Henselee, who has been in law enforcement since 1995.
“He told the police officers ‘I expect no less than 10 tickets a day’,” recalls Ruth Ward Harris.
Harris was a dispatcher and in the meeting with police when the mayor took over several years ago.
“Because we needed to get some money in the kitty,” remembers Harris.
But after Henselee was fired, folks around town decided they had had enough. In a town with a population of 693, more than 600 people, even some that Harris had arrested, signed a petition to bring him back.
“He said we could have as many signatures as we want, he really didn’t care,” said Henselee.
However, an item to discuss Henslee’s termination was placed on the agenda for Tuesday night’s meeting but the rest of the council upheld the mayor’s decision.
Still, Henslee says he’s not giving up on putting a stop to what’s going on here.
“It’s all about the town. I would like to see people get a decent shake in this town,” said Henselee.
News 9 tried to talk to the mayor about the allegations, but we were told “No comment.”
The town of Elmore City now has one police officer on staff.