Former officers speak in support of bill to ban quotas in Utah police departments

Posted at 9:45 PM, Feb 08, 2018
and last updated 2018-02-09 08:09:17-05

SALT LAKE CITY - A bill that would ban quotas within police departments just moved one step closer to becoming law in Utah.

During a committee meeting at the State Capital Thursday, Senator Howard Stephenson sat next to two former officers to present the bill.

"It should never be in the mind of any peace officer that they are required to help fund their budget," Senator Stephenson said.

At one point, he even considered adding something to the bill that would mandate that money collected from tickets go to an outside organization in order to ensure the integrity behind issuing the ticket in the first place.

"When I made motorcycle squad, we had to do 20 tickets per shift, or two DUI's per night," said former Salt Lake City Police Officer Eric Moutsos, one of the two former officers at the Committee meeting Thursday in support of the bill.

"Sixty-five tickets per month, that was the quota when I was there," said Jeff Hardenbrook, a former South Jordan officer who last worked for the department in the 90s.

Moutsos says before he was a motorcycle officer, he was on bike patrol downtown.

"My sergeant had mandated that I make five misdemeanor arrests a day, and when I told him I wouldn't do that, that's when my career went down hill pretty quick," he alleges.

Those allegations were quickly refuted by Salt Lake City Police Thursday afternoon.

"I don't believe that's accurate at all," said Sergeant Brandon Shearer. "I served on a motor squad in our police department shortly before he worked on it. There was never any quota or said expectation of what we were required to do."

Sgt. Shearer said that statistics were kept, but only to ensure officers were working efficiently and not wasting time.

"Ninety-nine percent of officers who signed up want to serve and protect the people," Moutsos said. "When there's a pressure to make arrests or make stops, there's an instant tension between police and public that we don't want to have. I know for a fact from a lot of officers that are active duty that keep telling me to keep going because they don't want to deal with it either."

Representatives from UHP, Salt Lake County Sheriff's Department, and other law enforcement agencies were on hand to give their support for the bill, allowing for some amendments before it hits the Senate floor in the coming weeks. The bill passed in committee with a unanimous vote.