Former Collegedale Police Officer Says He Was Forced To Resign For Complaining About "Illegal Quota System"

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

A former officer of the Collegedale Police Department said he was forced to resign a few days after he complained about an "illegal quota system" in which officers were required to make a certain number of enforcement actions.

Robert Bedell is suing the city of Collegedale along with Police Chief Brian Hickman and City Manager Ted Rogers.

The suit, filed by attorneys Janie Parks Varnell and Bryan Hoss, says Mr. Bedell was a Collegedale officer from January 2013 until last Jan. 10.

It says last December the Collegedale Police administration "began directing patrol officers to achieve a certain number of "enforcement activities" per month. All patrol officers had a monthly requirement of 25 enforcement activities, it was stated.

The enforcement activities were defined as written citations or arrests.

Also, officers were required to have 100 "patrol activities" per month. Those were defined as "neighborhood and business patrols, school patrols, park and walks and STEPS."

The suit says supervisors began ranking officers at the end of each month, pointing out those with the highest numbers and those with the lowest.

If an officer did not achieve 25 citations or arrests in a month, a write up would go in the officer's personnel file, it was stated.

The suit says state law "strictly prohibits a political agency of the state from requiring an officer to issue a predetermined number of any types of traffic citations within a specified period. The law further prohibits a department from disciplining an officer solely for failing to meet a predetermined or specified number of traffic citations."

Beginning last January, officers were being written up for not meeting the monthly requirements, it was stated.

The suit says officer Kolby Duckett was admonished for failing to meet the requirements for December, having 11 enforcement actions and 98 activities in the patrol category.

Mr. Bedell said he attended a mandatory meeting on Jan. 6 in which the new requirements were discussed. Mr. Bedell said he raised the question of where there was a written directive and he was told the requirements were not in policy but that officers were being given verbal directives.

Mr. Bedell said he questioned whether the new system was not in violation of state law.

He said an email was sent out the next day directly refuting that a quota system had been put in place.

On Jan. 10, Mr. Bedell said when he arrived for his shift he was approached by Chief Hickman, who told him he could either resign or be terminated from the department. When asked what for, he said Chief Hickman said he could not discuss it.

He said he was told that the department would not seek to take his POST certification, but would resist payment of unemployment benefits.

Mr. Bedell said he resigned under duress.

The suit asks $250,000 in compensatory damages and $250,000 in punitive damages.


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