Did You Ever Wonder if They Have A Quota?

Missouri’s attorney general sues the city of Marshfield for illegal traffic ticket quota scheme.

Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt is suing the city of Marshfield for the alleged ticket quota scheme. Additionally, the lawsuit alleges efforts by the chief of police to intimidate whistleblowers.

In the lawsuit, the attorney general’s office claims “the Department and the Chief of Police are motivated not by a concern for public safety, but rather to generate revenue for the City of Marshfield.”

The attorney general alleges on information and belief Chief Doug Fannen, on behalf of the City of Marshfield, gave department employees instruction to write sixteen citations per month and informed those officers that their performance evaluations would reflect whether the officer has issued those sixteen citations.

The lawsuit alleges that the chief of police began posting officers’ monthly traffic citation statistics to the department bulletin board, but briefly stopped after the Missouri Attorney General’s Office sued the city of Diamond in April of 2019 for enforcing a traffic ticket quota. Additionally, the lawsuit alleges that the Marshfield chief of police stated that the city of Diamond chief “messed up” by documenting a quota policy and that he had never written down his quota policy.

To back up allegations of a traffic ticket quota scheme, the lawsuit office notes the city of Marshfield’s traffic stop statistics submitted to the Attorney General’s Office. The number of citations issued by Marshfield police officers in the past years: in 2016, the total number of citations was 383, in 2017 that number increased to 646, and in 2018 that number jumped to 1,386. The number of warnings issued by Marshfield police decreased from 982 in 2016 to 787 in 2018. Additionally, the number of citations issued by Marshfield officers on the Interstate highway increased from zero in 2016 to eight in 2017 and then jumped to 241 in 2018.

Additionally, the lawsuit also includes minutes from the board of aldermen meetings showing the city of Marshfield’s decision to hire a “traffic enforcement officer” within the Marshfield Police Department. This position would be paid by revenue generated from traffic tickets, and the traffic enforcement officer would be required to write at least nine citations per shift or 144 citations per month.

Lastly, the lawsuit alleges, on information and belief, that an officer employed by the Marshfield Police Department confronted the chief of police in early 2019 and stated that traffic ticket quotas are illegal under Missouri law. On information and belief, this officer resigned after reportedly receiving disparate treatment from the chief after raising concerns about the traffic ticket quota. The lawsuit also alleges the chief of police and/or a direct report to the chief of police approached the Webster County Prosecuting Attorney to discuss pursuing a felony charge against the resigned officer for an unrelated issue. Schmitt then says the chief of police then allegedly asked an officer to relay a message to the resigned officer that if he talked to the attorney general’s office about the traffic ticket quota scheme, that the chief of police would pursue a felony charge against that officer for that unrelated charge.