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Utah police agencies would be prohibited from requiring their officers to rack up tickets or arrests under a bill that would outlaw quotas.

Sen. Howard Stephenson, R-Draper, was flanked by two former police officers who said they were pressured to meet arrest and ticketing quotas by their supervisors.

When he didn’t, said former Salt Lake City police officer Eric Moutsos, he was seen as insubordinate.

“We had to arrest five people a day. Misdemeanor arrests, it wasn’t just traffic,” Moutsos said. “I said what if the public knew we had to arrest five of them per day?”

Stephenson, a fiscal conservative, called it “unethical” for any agency to implement such requirements. He proposed SB154 as a way to prevent cities or police agencies to incentivize racking up tickets or citations.

“I’ve spoken to people representing nearly every type of law enforcement agency in the state,” Stephenson said. “They have universally agreed that quotas should not exist.”

Law enforcement groups oppose the idea, with several denying they have any such requirements in place.

“It’s a perception that we do not like being out in the public,” said Scott Carver, Salt Lake County undersheriff. “But what we do know is that the job of a policy officer is to, in part, arrest, cite, stop, do those things that would be prohibited under this bill.”

Stephenson said he’d work with law enforcement groups on his bill before it’s ready for prime time to ensure police don’t feel they can instruct their officers to issue tickets or make arrests when the need arises. Still, the committee unanimously voted to send the bill to the floor, where it will sit in line long enough to give Stephenson time to amend the bill.

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Prohibits law-enforcement agencies from using quotas for tickets or arrests. - Read full text

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