All investigative and enforcement activity by officers or agencies should be based on, and should further, a legitimate policing objective.
Agency officials undertake a variety of investigative and enforcement activities—including making stops and arrests, interviewing witnesses and suspects, conducting surveillance, gathering forensic evidence, and reviewing publicly available information on social media. In addition to the more specific protections set out in the Chapters that follow, these activities should be based on and should further a legitimate policing objective, including: preventing, deterring, or investigating unlawful conduct; promoting traffic or pedestrian safety; ensuring officer safety; rendering aid; and facilitating the exercise of constitutional rights. See also §§ 1.02 (Goals of Policing); 1.03 (Constitutional Policing).
Conversely, agency officials should not undertake these sorts of activities to pursue illegitimate ends. Officers should not, for example, initiate investigative or enforcement activities out of personal animus or political disagreement, or for personal gain. Nor should they undertake these activities in order to intimidate or harass. Just as important, enforcement activities should not be motivated in whole or in part by a desire to meet an official or unofficial quota—and agencies should avoid structuring their promotion and evaluation systems in a manner that encourages this sort of activity. Enforcement quotas, which a number of states prohibit as a matter of state law, can lead to both over-enforcement and racially disparate enforcement, and are inconsistent with the principles on harm-minimization and procedural justice enumerated in §§ 1.04 and 1.07. Finally, both officer and agency activities should be consistent with the principles on policing for the purposes of revenue generation, § 1.10, and policing on the basis of protected characteristics and First Amendment activity, § 1.11.
Agencies also should avoid the use of quotas and performance incentives that encourage officers to take enforcement actions in order to satisfy evaluation criteria or improve their standing within the department. Experience in various jurisdictions makes clear that quotas—both formal and informal—encourage officers to take enforcement action in circumstances in which they otherwise would not. And they often can exacerbate racial disparities by prompting officers to look for what they may perceive to be “easier” targets in low-income communities and in communities of color. See, e.g., Guy Padula, Utah v. Strief: Lemonade Stands and Dragnet Policing, 120 W. Va. L. Rev. 469, 524 (2017) (quoting NYPD officers explaining that the way they met the department’s alleged enforcement quotas was by going “to the well”, meaning the lobbies of public-housing buildings). For this reason, a number of states already prohibit agencies from using quotas for stops, citations, or arrests. See, e.g., Ark. Code Ann. § 12-6-302 (prohibiting the use of arrest quotas); Cal. Vehicle Code § 41602 (West) (prohibiting use of arrest quotas); Mont. Code Ann. § 46-6-420 (prohibiting quotas for arrests, citations, or investigative stops); Conn. Gen. Stat. Ann. § 7-282d (prohibiting quotas for traffic citations); Md. Code Ann., Pub. Safety § 3-504(a)–(b) (prohibiting quotas for arrests and citations, and prohibiting agencies from using the number of arrests and citations as a “primary” criterion for promotion); 71 Pa. Stat. Ann. § 2001 (prohibiting agencies from requiring—or even suggesting—that officers issue a specific number of traffic citations); Utah Code Ann. § 77-7-27 (prohibiting the use of quotas for arrests or citations). Agencies further should ensure that their evaluation schemes do not inadvertently create the same enforcement incentives as would a more formal quota system.