3/4/2008Pennsylvania: Cops Sue Over Parking Ticket Quota
Half of the Elizabeth Township, Pennsylvania police department is suing over parking ticket quotas.
A parking ticket quota drove half of the Elizabeth Township, Pennsylvania police department on Saturday to sue the police chief and town officials. The conflict centers on a January 2007 police department memo that instructed officers to issue snow parking tickets only as state violations -- which generate $57.50 -- and not as city violations -- which only generate $5. The officers complied, creating a ticketing blitz so effective that citizen complaints began to hit the local media.
Chief Robert W. McNeilly answered his critics by saying he would launch an investigation of the ticketing frenzy and overturn the tickets. The five officers in the lawsuit said that McNeilly "played dumb to his own directives and threw his officers under a bus."
As reported by the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, one officer summoned in court to testify about a parking ticket was later suspended for his testimony. This triggered a state investigation involving more police officers as witnesses. Those who cooperated with investigators, the suit claims, lost $25,000 in overtime pay and faced other punishment. The suit seeks compensatory and punitive damages for violations of whistle blower protection laws.