Ticket quotas for a long time were only a myth until more and more investigations brought to light the incentivizing of harassing motorists by police. Considered an integral source of revenue police departments around the country have dabbled with the practice hoping to get their piece of the pie. Only recently has it become common knowledge that many departments practice this unwritten policy. This practice would continue to remain a myth if it were not for officers shedding light on the discriminatory practice. One officer in New Jersey is set to receive $650,000 in settle money over a lawsuit he filed alleging he was passed over for promotion and reprimanded because he refused to participate in a ticket quota scheme concocted by a former police chief. The officer reportedly failed to profile and target younger drivers at the direction of the chief.
Mendham Township Patrol Officer Robert Wysokowski blew the whistle on the ticket scheme in 2014 claiming that beginning in 2005 then-Sgt. Stephen Crawford directed him and other officers to target young drivers for traffic stops to meet ticket quotas enacted by the department. According to the lawsuit, Wysokowski was ordered to “pull over any car with a group of young drivers,” and was told to single out vehicles with Morris County College parking permits on them. Wysokowski refused to prey on the college students and other young drivers and was met with swift rebuke.
In the lawsuit Wysokowski alleges that he was retaliated against for not meeting the department’s ticket quota and reprimanded for leaving on the headlights of a police vehicle and draining the battery. He also claimed that he took a sick day and an officer was sent to his home to confirm that he was indeed sick.
Wysokowski was passed over twice for promotion and was also given poor reviews by his supervisor. HE also missed out on bonus opportunities afforded the other officers because of his refusal to play ball with the profiling.
Crawford denied the allegation when the lawsuit was first filed in a press conference. An investigation followed and unsurprisingly, the Morris County Prosecutor’s Office found insufficient evidence of criminal conduct by Crawford or the township police department.
Despite not finding any evidence of wrongdoing, the parties involved reached a settlement with Wysokowski. The terms of the settlement agreement placed the township on the hook for $375,000 to be paid in the first 30 days by the town’s insurer. The remaining balance was to be paid by the police department and the township within 180 days. The terms of the agreement also bars the parties from discussing the details of the case other than to say that the matter was resolved.
Once again an oppressive system of policing and targeting is neither denied or confirmed. Based upon the actions however it is a sound conclusion that officers did behave in such a fashion but like the Blue Code of Silence and Fight Club, it’s not to be talked about.
Wysokowski’s attorney Jeffrey Catrambone and Mendham Township’s attorney John Mills III both said the matter had been resolved.
Wysokowski, who is still a patrol officer, receives an annual salary of $106,067. He was hired by the department 19 years ago.
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