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Tennessee Highway Patrol DUI quotas: Is! Is not!

It is ironic that many labor problems develop because management is often lazy. Oh, they put in an 8-hour day, or longer, but they are lazy in an intellectual sense. They are often uninterested in the realities of the frontline workforce, and do not want to expend too much thought on the performance of an individual.

They like metrics. They like activities that are countable. Especially if what is being counted appears to be important, or is perceived to be important. They do not like that which is fuzzy, gray, difficult-to-comprehend or evaluate.

And so the controversy concerning whether the Tennessee Highway Patrol (THP) has quotas intensifies, as the administrators in charge of the THP emphatically claim there are no DUI quotas for THP troopers, while more troopers come forward and report there are quotas and that the failure to meet them can result in negative sanctions on the trooper.

One trooper, who has retired and can therefore speak without fear of job retaliation, noted that because he had low numbers of DUI arrests, he was placed on permanent night shifts for four months and denied any additional overtime shifts, even though he led his troop in moving violation arrests.

What is remarkable is that the THP management believes that all troopers should be arresting a minimum number of DUI drivers, apparently whether or not there are DUI drivers on the road in front of the trooper.

The troopers are stressed by the pressure to produce DUI arrests. One unnamed trooper reported that they have a quota of 20 DUI arrests per year. While intoxicated drivers remain a problem in Tennessee, forcing troopers to “shake the trees” in an attempt to find those drivers means they have to ignore other problems.

It sadly bespeaks a lack of respect by management for their own troopers, in essence micromanaging their patrols in an effort to produce a politically attractive result. It also makes it more likely that there are an increasing number of questionable arrests being made, simply so the trooper can meet his or her quota.

Source: Johnson City Press, “Tennessee Department of Safety, Homeland Security Bill Gibbons says THP has no DUI quotas,” Becky Campbell, March 14th, 2015

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