Saturday, June 3, 2023 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Wisconsin Enforcing Quotas, Troopers Claim

(CN) - The state of Wisconsin unlawfully uses citation quotas to measure the performance of its state troopers, the union representing the officers claims in court.

In a complaint filed in Dane County, Wis., the union claims troopers are required to execute one traffic stop per hour of patrol and to issue 1 citation for every 1.8 hours of patrol.

The union claims these rules have been in force ever since the State Patrol division of the Wisconsin Department of Transportation revised its evaluation forms in 2012.

As per the evaluation forms, the state also requires troopers to issue a warning to a motorist every eight hours, the complaint says.

The Wisconsin Law Enforcement Association claims all this violates a 1999 state law prohibiting municipalities from "directly or indirectly" requiring officers to meet such quotas.

In addition, meeting these static quotas can be more difficult depending on an officer's shift and patrol location, the union says.

The October 19 filling also alleges that troopers who do not meet the quotas face consequences, including "job instructions with added working conditions; the denial of training opportunities, for instance, the honor guard; being assigned less desirable vehicles and older equipment; shift-time changes which have adverse health effects on certain troopers; being phoned and emailed often about 'poor work efforts' resulting in stress and requiring mental health counseling; and, compromised safety especially during night shift stops in snowstorms where squad cars have ended up sliding off the road."

On top of that, the state wants to expand the quotas to include even more officers, the union says.

The Department of Justice did not immediately respond to a request for comment, but a pamphlet on the Wisconsin Department of Transportation's website states "State Patrol officers absolutely do not have a quota for issuing citations."

The union is asking for declarations that the quota system is unlawful and an immediate cease of enforcement, in addition to removal of any disciplinary action or negative review based on the quota system from employees' files, according to the complaint.

It is represented by Sally Stix of Madison, Wis.

Read the Top 8

Sign up for the Top 8, a roundup of the day's top stories delivered directly to your inbox Monday through Friday.