Joe St. Clair, a former police officer in Bellefontaine Neighbors, Missouri, claims that he and other officers were told to write a certain number of tickets and make a required number of traffic arrests or face suspensions and unemployment.
St. Clair provided copies of spreadsheets to KMOV that local cops used to track their required duties: writing tickets, making traffic arrests, citing people for ordinance violations, issuing parking tickets and giving traffic warnings.
He claimed that police officers had to do 50 of these tasks a month, and that 15 percent of these activities had to be traffic arrests.
The majority of the population in Bellefontaine Neighbors is black, while most of the officers are white; St. Clair is black.
St. Clair produced a letter he was given by the police department that threatened him with disciplinary action because he had "produced only 32 activities, which is less than 70 percent of your required minimum performance standard.” St. Clair was warned that he could “expect to be replaced, disciplined, or terminated” if his numbers did not go up.
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St. Clair said he wasn't comfortable following the policy, but did so because he had a wife and two kids, but many of the people he ticketed likely had families as well.
Bellefontaine Neighbors Police Chief Robert Pruett told KMOV off-camera that the policy “is not a quota system,” but admitted that cops have been threatened with discipline for not meeting the required numbers, which would be, by definition, a quota.
Bellefontaine Neighbors Mayor Robert Doerr reportedly told KMOV off-camera that the policy was legal and not a quota. Mayor Doerr took credit for the policy and claimed it was needed to keep residents safe.
While safety is not verifiable, the city did triple its income, thanks to the increased citations.
“If Joe St. Clair is going to drag us through the mud, then we’re going to drag him through the mud, too," said Mayor Doerr, noted KMOV.
In response to the report, Missouri state Sen. Eric Schmitt (R) is calling for an investigation.
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According to LandlineMag.com, Schmitt said in a recent press release, "Government exists to serve our citizens. Unfortunately, the municipal court system, especially in the St. Louis region, has created a system of traffic ticket tricks and schemes designed to extract more and more from our citizens.”
Bellefontaine Neighbors sits in St. Louis County.
(Note: The image above was not taken in Bellefontaine Neighbors, Missouri)