St. Louis, MO -- A former Bellefontaine Neighbors police officer has come out of the quota closet and is exposing the department's highly unethical revenue collection scheme.
Ten-year veteran of the force, officer Joe St. Clair was ordered to carry out a policy that he says required cops to issue a certain number of traffic tickets, and even traffic arrests. If the cops failed to do it, they could be fired.
“I believe the chief put an illegal mandate on his officers. I think it’s unfair to the community,” St. Clair told KMOV.
A report conducted by KMOV, with the help of St. Clair, exposed the downright insane requirements for Bellefontaine Neighbors cops.
According to the report:
The mandate was put in writing. It requires officers to take a specific number of “self-initiated activities” each month. St. Clair gave News 4 Investigates copies of spreadsheets used by the Bellefontaine Neighbors Police Department to track those activities. It identifies seven different activities that officers are required to do. Those include writing ordinance violations, traffic arrests, uniform traffic tickets, parking violations and traffic warnings.
St. Clair had to do 50 of them every month. The spreadsheet shows that Traffic Arrests represented up to 15 percent of the required activities for Bellfontaine Neighbors cops, an equivalent of up to 8 arrests per month, and that Uniform Traffic Tickets were up to 60 percent, or about 30 tickets per month.
Just to put that into perspective, 75 percent of all officers' duties is forced revenue collection.
This department focuses 75 percent of all of its time on the act of revenue collection. This ratio is particularly disturbing.
It means that only 25 percent of the time are they trying to solve murders, prevent crimes, and investigate thefts. But that's probably too generous of a number as well. If you take into account the immoral War on Drugs; solving murders, preventing crimes and investigating thefts is probably only a tiny fraction of that 25 percent.
St. Clair tells KMOV that he was threatened with "disciplinary action" in September of 2013 after failing to meet the required minimum of 50 citations. The next month he made sure to meet the minimum.
“I wasn’t comfortable doing it, but I had to do it. I have a wife and two children I had to support,” said St. Clair.
It should be noted that St. Clair is no angel. He was named in an excessive force lawsuit six years ago that the city settled for $90,000. The victim claimed that St. Clair and another cop arrested, beat and tased him, then dumped him in Granite City, Illinois.
However, St. Clair's credibility in this matter was reinforced when Police Chief Robert Pruett confirmed the quota system
Pruett admitted during an off-camera conversation with KMOV that officers have been threatened with discipline and punished for not meeting this quota. Oddly enough, just prior to admitting that officers face consequences for not meeting quotas, Pruett claimed that it "is not a quota system."
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Pruett then passed the buck and informed KMOV that Mayor Robert Doerr had ordered him not to give an interview.
KMOV reporter Craig Cheatham then went to the mayor's office to have a talk with him. According to KMOV:
Bellefontaine Neighbors Mayor Robert Doerr repeatedly insisted the policy was legal and not a quota. He insisted the policy was needed because officers had been lazy and weren’t doing enough to protect the community. He claimed the policy was his idea.
It is no surprise that the mayor is behind the quota system. After all, he is likely one of the principal benefactors of the revenue generated through this unethical practice. The judges and prosecutors probably have their hand the extortion cookie jar as well.
In typical statist fashion, the mayor then told Cheatham that “if Joe St. Clair is going to drag us through the mud, then we’re going to drag him through the mud, too.”
Boss Hogg....ahem.....Mayor Doerr then forced the news crew to leave.
Mandating that officers issue citations and make arrests is nothing close to "protecting and serving." In fact, it's quite the opposite.
Requiring a minimum number of citations forces conflict and potentially hostile interactions.
It truly forces police officers to create criminals out of otherwise innocent people in order to generate revenue, or they face losing their jobs.
But hey, like St. Clair said, he's got a family to feed. So he's "just doing his job" when he throws you in a prison cell over a seat belt "violation."
It wouldn't be nearly as disheartening if the Bellefontaine Neighbors police department was some rogue unit and this was an isolated incident. But sadly it is not. There are entirely too many examples.
The most recent happened in November of last year. The Free Thought Project reported the story of police in Normal, IL. Several cops from the Normal police department sued the city claiming that the department's policy forced them to make arrests without probable cause.
After showing how difficult it can be to blow the whistle on corruption in one's own unit, it's safe to assume that there are departments across the nation with equally despicable extortion rackets in place. So much for the land of the free......