In March 2022 police officers Kayla Walker and David Conklin sued the city of Richardson and senior police leadership, alleging that the Police department had been illegally using quotas to evaluate and discipline patrol officers. Now new evidence has surfaced supporting their allegations.
According to Walker, after her complaints to her superiors and the Texas Ranger were unheard, she went public. During a City Council meeting on April 19, 2021, she said, “Patrol officers are threatened with punishments for not writing enough tickets, arresting enough people and making enough citizen contacts.” According to her statement, this was done by comparing officers’ monthly productivity reports.
In the state of Texas, it is illegal to use quotas to promote, compensate or discipline officers, as it encourages officers to take make traffic stops or arrests even when they are unwarranted. As Scott Henson, author of “Grits for Breakfast” blog and Executive Director at Just Liberty, a 501(c)4 focused on justice reform in Texas, said to The Dallas Morning News, “The idea of a quota goes against the notion that police react to crime. Instead, it causes them to manufacture offenses.”
In Walker’s statement at the city council meeting, she claimed that supervisors might use different words for the quota, like averages and productivity. “Some officers have actually been told specific numbers for arrests and citations to produce every month so they do not get in trouble,” she added. “This is the definition of an illegal quota.” And later, when the law firm investigation came out, she provided evidence of that.
During a follow-up council meeting, City Manager Dan Johnson assured that an investigation was conducted after concerns were raised by Walker. “This review will involve outside legal counsel, and it will be conducted in an orderly and expeditious way,” he said.
The city hired an outside law firm to conduct the investigation that in July 2021 delivered a six-page report stating that despite “a small undercurrent of dissatisfaction in the Department over the use of statistical numbers” to evaluate officers’ performance. “We did not discern that there was a legitimate feeling by those patrol officers that the Department dictates ticket quotas in violation of state law,” the report stated. “Nor did we see any evidence indicating that is occurring.”
Investigative journalist for The Dallas Morning News Dave Lieber writes he found evidence that supports Walker’s claims. Almost a year later, Lieber acquired more emails through open records requests adding weight to Walker’s claims.
As The Dallas Morning News reported back in August 2021, in addition to Walker, two other officers received memos from their supervisor pressing them to meet monthly expectations. “You need to maintain a three stops-a-day average,” the supervisor wrote to one of the officers. “If you do not meet this expectation each month, you will be put on a performance plan which may include discipline for dereliction of duty and loss of your ability to work part-time jobs.” Later the same officer received another warning: “If your numbers don’t improve … you are in jeopardy.”
Police Chief Gary L. Tittle, who became chief in June 2021, told WFAA that as a result of the investigation there would be new policies in place to “create bright-line guidance clearing up any misimpressions” regarding the department’s expectations of officers’ performance. One such policy is to reinforce, through command staff, the department’s position that no quota is required and to standardize all productivity reports productivity for supervisors “to use when evaluating patrol officer performance.”
As of writing, Walker and Conklin are on leave, and their lawyer, Eric N. Roberson wrote in the lawsuit that since both officers went public they’ve faced “increasing harassment [and] unlawful retaliation” within the department. Local Profile reached out to the city of Richardson and the police department but did not hear back prior to publication.