New NJ law ends arrest, ticket quota data when evaluating cops
TRENTON – Police departments that already were prohibited from having ticket or arrest quotas in New Jersey now cannot use such data to evaluate an officer’s job performance, under a state law enacted on Thursday.
Police officers had long complained that even though quotas were officially banned that departments essentially continued them by tying advancement and even preferred vacation and meal times to arrest and ticket stats.
New Jersey State Policemen's Benevolent Association President Patrick Colligan said the new law will “go far to further build trust between New Jersey police and the public.”
“For far too long unscrupulous local governments and police supervisors have tried to establish inappropriate ticket quotas,” Colligan said. “Police officers are not revenue collectors as some towns have tried to make them and creating quotas means ordering an officer to target motorists or face punishment. That ends today.”
The bill dated back to 2014 but hadn’t gotten much traction until this legislative session. Gov. Phil Murphy enacted it Thursday, in a private signing ceremony attended by police union leaders and Sen. Shirley Turner, D-Mercer, one of the bill’s primary sponsors.
“Not only is it unfair to factor the volume of citations and arrests into an officer’s performance evaluation when we did away with quotas decades ago, but there are much more effective performance measurements like decision-making abilities, response times and work ethic," said Assemblyman Hal Wirths, R-Sussex. “This law allows our dedicated police officers to focus on protecting and serving the public.”
“Our men and women in blue deserve to be promoted based on merit, not outdated and banned quotas,” said Assemblyman Parker Space, R-Sussex.
The New Jersey State League of Municipalities said it was appropriate for that type of statistical analysis to be a part, not the entirety, of the evaluation of a police officer’s performance.
The new law takes effect immediately.
Michael Symons is State House bureau chief for New Jersey 101.5. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.