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Fired police officer files suit against city

Original post made on Jun 4, 2015

A former Mountain View policeman last week filed a lawsuit against the city, alleging that his supervisors illegally fired him in 2014 due to his status as a veteran and because he failed to follow an illicit ticket quota system operating out of the department.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Thursday, June 4, 2015, 11:11 AM

Comments (17)

Posted by Cordelia
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jun 4, 2015 at 2:40 pm

Police quota systems aren't just illegal, they also encourage racism and sexism in police orgs. If a police officer has to give out a certain number of tickets every month to meet their quota, who do you think they are going to target?

If it's true that MV has a quota for tickets, this is a HUGE problem. Their management is using the police force as a cash machine, with their hands in your pocket. Yikes.

Posted by Rita
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Jun 4, 2015 at 2:49 pm

How many ticket quotas must an officer give out?

Posted by Ron
a resident of Waverly Park
on Jun 4, 2015 at 3:02 pm

@cordelia. Except that we know no such thing yet. Maybe they were concerned that he was not doing his job, and he took that as them having specific quotas. Heck, he even says that it is hearsay. You are jumping to a lot of conclusions base on a few comments by a fired officer.

Posted by Greg David
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jun 4, 2015 at 3:04 pm

Greg David is a registered user.

Nick Emmerling is a good cop and I was surprised when they let him go. We need more cops like him in Mountain View. If the allegations are true, we need our officials to take a very close look at PD procedures.

Posted by David
a resident of Sylvan Park
on Jun 4, 2015 at 3:15 pm

It would not overly surprise me there would be an illicit ticket quota... But I have some evidence otherwise.

I do have to wonder if there is a quota system... Twice I've been fed up with the 15+ cars parked in the bicycle lanes near the Sunday Farmer's Market and called the Police to ticket cars. Both times the desk officers response was they are too busy with "real issues" to enforce bicycle lane regulations.

If there was a quota system for tickets (though not arrests), the Farmer's Market is ripe for the picking.

Posted by the_punnisher
a resident of Whisman Station
on Jun 4, 2015 at 4:33 pm

the_punnisher is a registered user.

There has always been a quota system in the MVPD. They catch the suckers that work for a living and cannot spare the time to go to court and fight the ticket.
Been there, done that, got the t-shirt. It was far less expensive to play the court game were you are automatically GUILTY until you prove you are INNOCENT. I think that there is something in our Bill Of Rights about this.
They even tried to get my VISITING MOTORHOME FOR EXCESSIVE SMOKE when I visited my parents. I had just passed my emissions for CO stickers and did not adjust the carb for a lower altitude, hence the overly rich mix on start-up.
I chewed out the Watch Commander and told them I would leave and take my tourist dollars elsewhere. I think that worked, the next 2 weeks were uneventful.

Posted by Steve
a resident of another community
on Jun 4, 2015 at 4:39 pm

It doesn't take Sherlock Holmes to deduce that the MVPD operates a revenue generating scheme here in the city. Be observant, and you'll find them lurking around the safer intersections in the city, just waiting for that easy score. Please understand that the issue isn't whether "those traffic scofflaws deserve what's coming to them" or not. The issue is allocating valuable but limited police resources to the best benefit of our citizens. How many crimes go unsolved (and unreported...) because the cops are too busy with 'Police for Profit' activities?

Posted by truth
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jun 4, 2015 at 5:32 pm

Wow..some really dumb statements here.

Police use the laws to keep the public safe.

If you guys keep getting pulled over for blowing through stop signs or speeding through school zones, that has NOTHING to do with a so-called ticket quota. Why not obey the law and you won't have to take time off work to fight the ticket for an offense you are guilty of anyway?

Posted by Maher
a resident of Martens-Carmelita
on Jun 4, 2015 at 7:20 pm

Well, to me, this whole mess sounds like a probable "where there's smoke, there's fire" vav the quota issues. I'm female and a senior and I was stopped incorrectly and issues a ticket for an illegal left-hand turn. The officer was wrong but his arrogant, condescending attitude, tone and body language signaled that conversation with him was a silly idea. There was an urgency in his manner too..."quota" crossed my mind. I took photos of the intersection and challenged in traffic court and won.

The veteran-phobic stance within MV Police seems a "bridge too far" in my view but if the records on promotion and scheduling support the accusation then I will believe it.

Other encounters anywhere with MV police have been suitable and pleasant but it's a good idea to keep them on their toes about uses of power.

Posted by Sparty
a resident of another community
on Jun 4, 2015 at 8:13 pm

Sparty is a registered user.

Most any vet cop will tell you-- don't be the one who writes the most tickets and most certainly don't be the one who writes the least (by a wide margin)

Also--when you first get out of FTO, arrest everybody--ie those discretionary cite and release situations should be arrested.

Not about unfairly targeting, it's about looking proactive. If anything after a while on the force, people who could be arrested aren't. Drugs are always a good discretionary arrest because the DA is unlikely to do anything anyway. But you don't want to be the rookie (in any job) who starts to emulate the old timers just because you've seen that's how they do it.

Posted by Cost of tickets
a resident of Monta Loma
on Jun 5, 2015 at 9:00 am

The cost of each ticket being 500 dollars plus a piece, of course the police would love to increase the amount of tickets issued.

Posted by Steve
a resident of another community
on Jun 5, 2015 at 4:10 pm

"Police use the laws to keep the public safe"
Wow, if that were only true. In an ideal world the police would allocate their manpower toward doing just that. But here in Mountain View, the police use it to generate revenue for the city, by way of traffic stops. (insignificant fine for illegal parking, by the way)
Again, the point isn't about what any given traffic offender deserves. The point is that by deploying their limited manpower for easy target ticket factories, instead of actually patrolling our neighborhoods, the MVPD is putting profit ahead of public safety. Unless, of course, the is no real crime in town...

Posted by @Steve
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jun 5, 2015 at 5:07 pm

Ok steve. If you think that MV is making a ton of money by ticketing drivers breaking the law, then answer this question:

On a fine of $500.00, how much of it goes to the City of MV?

If you knew the answer, you would realize how issuing tickets is hardly profitable for MV.

Posted by jguzman774
a resident of another community
on Jun 5, 2015 at 5:32 pm

Let me break this down for you...Basically, he was hired a reserve, then later as a full time officer; which is not uncommon in smaller agencies. He probably thought he was "good" and would clear probation based on his past performance and relationship(s) with fellow officers, sergeants and command staff, during his time as a reserve. Again, not too uncommon in smaller agencies. However, he forgot how vindictive law enforcement is compared to the military. You have to "play the game" if you're not "one of the boys (or girls :-)" when you're on probation. There's NO way around that. This article doesn't (at least I didn't see it) elaborate how many times he was activated in addition to his weekend drills. In smaller agencies you won't find too many reservists, due to the strain (even though reservists are protected by state and federal law) it puts on the agencies when they're activated. If he was on probation when he was terminated; then there's probably nothing he can do. Cities are dumb, but not stupid, at least not that often when it comes to situations like these. He was probably extended for "performance related issues" which is vague at best, but still legal. He will probably expose some "issues" within the PD, but at the end of the day, the majority of the residents are content with the level of service they're receiving from MVPD and nothing will be done. He will also probably lose this case, unless there's a "smoking gun" out there, or a fellow officer willing to put his or her name, creditability and career on the line and testify, against the city, that he or she knew that they were after this officer. Sad, but a very true reality when it comes to the inner workings of a law enforcement agency.

Posted by Otto Maddox
a resident of Monta Loma
on Jun 8, 2015 at 2:36 pm

It's funny when people get all outraged that cops have quotas. Of course they do.. always have and always will.

The police management may not call it a quota but as another person has already said, you are managed against your peers and one of those metrics is how many citations compared to those you work with.

And you can bet there's a magic number you do not want to fall below.

For this cop to cry about it is silly. I'm sure he knew about how things worked when he started. If you don't want to work under a quota system don't become a cop. Duh.

Posted by Timo
a resident of North Whisman
on Jun 8, 2015 at 4:59 pm

I hope this former officer wins his lawsuit, but as far as being reinstated, it's a dangerous job and this lawsuit won't make him very popular with the department. Forget reinstatement. Make sure the changes are made, get the back pay and hope they appreciate what he's doing.

Posted by Jane
a resident of another community
on Jun 11, 2015 at 9:55 am

The article did not mention that prior to Mountain View he was released from Sunnyvale for an undisclosed problem. Something to think about.

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