Two Dallas police officers testified they felt pushed to make at least two DWI arrests per night, but stopped short of saying the department has a quota system, according to court documents obtained by Unfair Park.
"It's not necessarily a quota," Officer Robert Wilcox told a Dallas jury on January 13 in response to a question from a defense attorney. "We have been under some pressure here recently through the changes of our chain of command from higher up that they are asking us to try to go out there and get two DWI's a night."
In a second case days later, Officer Bobby Watkins said essentially the same thing:
"Well, I wouldn't call it a quota system...It's just...basically what you're aiming for...What they feel you should be able to do."
The defendant in Wilcox's case was acquitted. The jury in Watkins' returned a guilty verdict.
After the jump, reactions from Dallas Police Chief David Kunkle and Deputy Chief Julian Bernal. Also: the transcripts.
Quota systems are generally discouraged by police departments because they allow the defense to argue a person was arrested to make quota rather than because they committed a crime.
Dallas Police Chief David Kunkle told Unfair Park his department doesn't have a quota system.
"We should not have any kind of quota," he said. "We should expect our officers to be productive and make good use of their time, but that should not manifest itself in a specific quota."
Deputy Chief Julian Bernal, who heads the traffic division, including the DWI squad, confirmed that there has been a lot of talk about increasing productivity.
"Recently, we have been discussing productivity at all levels of the traffic unit, from tickets to DWIs to accidents, and increasing our productivity from a management perspective," he said. "Employees that continually come into the office with little or no activity on a repeated basis, we have to start talking to them about productivity."
But this does not mean that officers have been handed a quota to make two DWI arrests per night, Bernal insisted.
"That's not a number that we're putting out. We don't have goals for DWIs. We don't have quotas for DWIs. That could be from the discussions they had with their lieutenants or sergeants."
The DPD has been applauded for reducing the city's violent crime rate to an all-time low, but persistently high drunk-driving related accidents and fatalities remain a trouble spot. In 2006 and 2007, Texas had the highest number of alcohol-related driving fatalities in the nation, according to a study released in August by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
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In Dallas County, of the 218 persons killed in a crash in 2007, 95 persons, or 43 percent, were killed in a crash that involved a driver with a blood alcohol content at the legal limit of .08 or higher. Wilcox Testimony