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Letter: FITSNews’ Unfair ‘Quota’ Allegation Against SC Highway Patrol

“There’s a difference between monitoring activity and imposing a quota …”

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RE: Quotas Are Illegal In South Carolina

Dear Editor,

You’re being awfully hard on the South Carolina Highway Patrol (SCHP) about “quotas.” I’d just like to point out there’s a difference between a report of your activities and a quota.

A quota is a pre-assigned goal that you are expected to achieve. A report of your activity is not a quota, it is simply a report of your work. Frankly, it’s a necessary step to keep track of officers who act most of the time at their own discretion. Otherwise they might be tempted to sit on the side of the road and listen to the radio or play games on their phone all day instead of enforcing the traffic laws or even sleep on the night shift. 

A report of activity is simply good management – letting you know who is doing the work they are hired to do and who isn’t.  People who bill by the hour, sometimes at hundreds of dollars an hour, keep a report of their activity every day so they can accurately bill their clients.  It just doesn’t seem to be a cardinal sin to me to ask an employee to account for what they did all day while you weren’t there to look over their shoulder. Now I agree with you that the “every three hours” thing is overboard.

As an example, do you believe it is reasonable for a trooper to make one contact in an entire shift?  And how would you handle it if you were his or her supervisor?  Writing tickets on South Carolina die-ways is probably as easy as shooting fish in a barrel.  

THE SOLUTION

Supervisors can tell by radio traffic which Troopers are active and which are not – and can require inactive troopers to have their dash camera on for their entire shift.  That way, the question of whether someone is actually doing their job can be determined by simply reviewing the video.  

Sincerely,

Robert Bogan
St. Matthews, S.C.

FROM THE EDITOR …

Robert – Thank you for submitting such a thoughtful response to our coverage. Your letter made several good points, and our readers are better off for having heard your perspective.

I’ve received more than a few responses to the quota story, and your letter certainly addressed one of the primary counterpoints in this narrative – namely that there must be some metric by which the effectiveness of enforcement is assessed.

Bigger picture? We need more troopers on our “die-ways” – and we need to pay them more, train them better and equip them with the resources they need to perform this core function of government. The shortage of troopers is one of the main reasons highway fatalities climbed last year despite people driving fewer miles.

By the way, I am in complete agreement with you on the dash-cam recommendation, by the way. In fact, for several years FITSNews has advocated on behalf of law enforcement officers keeping their dashboard and body cameras activated at all times while they are on duty.

*****

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