Sheriff’s candidate: ‘It’s not a quota’
While saying there is no quota for tickets deputies write, Sheriff’s candidate Capt. Joe Duffy said that is a factor he uses in tracking what deputies do during the course of their day.
On Thursday, in response to a Douglas County Grand Jury report, Duffy said his goal is not to have deputies write more tickets, but to get them on the road where they are visible.
“All I have asked of the deputies is that each day they show some measurable form of work which is all tracked by our Spilman software system,” he said. “Traffic enforcement and issuing citations are just another part of the law enforcement we do and something that is totally discretionary for the deputies.”
The person filing the complaint said he was told by deputies there was a new requirement for them to have a minimum of four arrests and write 16 citations each month or face disciplinary action.
After performance standards were implemented in September of 2015, the number of citations deputies issued went up from 3,836 to 6,347, though they went down to 4,377 in 2017, according to the grand jury report.
Duffy said the performance standard wasn’t a quota.
Duffy said his message to the patrol division was misrepresented and then spread to the community.
Five deputies were interviewed by the grand jury. All five said there was a new performance standard in place that measured the number of arrests, citations written and field interviews conducted.
Duffy’s pointed out that he supervises 52 law enforcement officers.
“The vast majority of them do an outstanding job for the citizens of Douglas County every day,” he said. “Every law enforcement agency and private company has a small percentage of employees who are underperformers or who are disgruntled.”
He admitted that posting a color-coded spreadsheet totaling statistics by month, with high-performing deputies in green and ones not performing well in red, didn’t go over as planned.
“I thought it would work positively as a tool to promote good police work and create a healthy competitive atmosphere between officers,” he said. “Unfortunately, this did not work as I had planned and so it was taken down over a year ago.”
Grand jurors reported results were used in deputy’s annual evaluation and affected wage increases.
Duffy denied that he has doesn’t have any say over how much deputies are paid, which is determined during collective bargaining.
Deputies who testified before the grand jury said that living and working in Douglas County in the past offset financial considerations.
They testified that retirement or working someplace else became more appealing.
“Quite a few deputies have left Douglas County in the past two years,” grand jurors said. “This trend is alarming. Losing seasoned, dedicated deputies to other counties or municipalities because of low morale, benefits and lower than average regional wages is not acceptable.”
Grand jurors recommended that those deputies who are chronic underperformers should be re-evaluated, retrained or reassigned to play to their strengths.
Duffy said there isn’t any place in the department for “chronic underperforming” deputies to go.
“The retraining of these deputies already occurs,” he said. “My only option is to ensure that the deputy’s underperformance statistics and behaviors are accurately documented.”
Duffy said he wasn’t criticizing the grand jury, but wanted to set the record straight.
“I appreciate the fact that the grand jury had to deal with some very tough matters in this session and had to deal with a multitude of information coming at them.”