Quota system of Michigan State Police questioned by ACLU

It's a controversial quota system used by Michigan State Police telling them how many people they should be pulling over.

Critics call it unfair, they want m-s-p to ditch the quota system but state police, defend the policy.

Some say the system could lead to racial profiling - the first to make that claim was a cop and now it is the American Civil Liberties Union.

The ACLU of Michigan is calling on Michigan State Police to pull the plug on its evaluation system that requires -- and at  times rewards --  troopers for making a certain number of traffic stops to meet performance standards

"Our concern is that they may do two things," said Mark Fancher, ACLU attorney. "One is that they'll stop people when they really shouldn't be stopped and two, they'll stop people who they believe won't complain about having been stopped for no good reason and if they complain, will not be believed."

Fancher said in his letter he believes a trooper may be more inclined to stop a young person of color or any person who appears to be poor or powerless.

"If the police are stopping people when they shouldn't be stopping them and the people know that they should not have been stopped- then those are the ingredients for frustration, for anger which can boil over and cause some very unintended and undesirable results," Fancher said.

If the ACLU's concerns sound familiar it's because you've heard it before from a former cop.

"Now the police I do not believe for a minute are inherently racist, but the policies that are put in place, reward a racist behavior," said Craig Tuer, former MSP trooper.

Back in March we interviewed state trooper Craig Tuer--a 20-year veteran with Michigan State Police.

He told us about the 70 percent baseline evaluation troopers have to meet. In that story MSP denied having a quota for tickets but acknowledged one of the areas subject to that baseline evaluation, was traffic stops.

"We're not accusing Michigan State Police of racial profiling," Fancher said. "What we are saying is we've spotted what we regard as a hazard. It's very much like when you have broken glass on a  pool deck. It may be that no one has cut their feet but you still sweep up that glass so that there are no injuries."

While the ACLU praises MSP's policies that prohibit racial profiling, the group finds the state police practice of not always recording the race or ethnic backgrounds of those stopped troubling. Because there would be no way to find out if certain people were in fact being singled out.

In response to the ACLU's letter, Michigan State Police said this:

"The MSP wholeheartedly disagrees with the ACLU's statement that the Activity Analysis program is 'problematic because it can create an incentive to stop motorists without proper grounds when troopers have deficient stop records and they become desperate to meet supervisors' expectations.' 

"Troopers are trained to stop motorists only if there is a violation of the Michigan Vehicle Code or they have cause to believe criminal activity is afoot.  Stopping motorists without proper grounds or using race, ethnicity, or gender to select whom a trooper stops is in direct violation of the MSP Code of Conduct."

The ACLU has been in conduct with state police since the letter was sent Wednesday. A state lawmaker is working that would beef up racial profiling guidelines within police and sheriff departments across the state. But the last time that came up it did not get very far.

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