TRENTON, N.J. – A bill that would end police departments from using the number of tickets issued or arrests made in an officer’s performance evaluation passed the Assembly Monday. Assemblymen Hal Wirths and Parker Space sponsored the bill (A4058).
Currently, agencies can use such data when evaluating officer performance. State law, however, does ban police departments from establishing arrest and ticket quotas.
“Our dedicated law enforcement officers who put their lives on the line every day should be focused on protecting and serving the public. It’s unfair to factor the volume of citations and arrests into an officer’s performance evaluation when we did away with quotas decades ago,” Wirths (R-Sussex) said. “There are much more effective performance measurements like decision-making abilities, response times and work ethic.”
Law enforcement agencies have used the number of citations and arrests when deciding who gets promoted, demoted, awarded or disciplined, according to the New Jersey State Policemen’s Benevolent Association.
“By factoring arrests and tickets into performance evaluations, law enforcement agencies are in effect embracing quotas. Our men and women in blue deserve to be promoted based on merit, not outdated and banned quotas. Quotas are illegal because they harm communities and their relationships with law enforcement. It’s time to close the loophole,” Space (R-Sussex) said.
Under the bill, law enforcement agencies could forward arrest and citation data to the superintendent of state police for inclusion in the Uniform Crime Report.
The Senate passed its version in January. It now heads to the governor’s desk for signing.