Officer Alleges Illegal Ticket Quota At Local University
Officer Says UCSD Trying To Raise Money With Parking Citations
1:30 AM, Sep 22, 2009
Parking citations are moneymakers for cities and university systems, according to experts, but that is not supposed to influence the officers writing the tickets."In law enforcement, you don't look at it like a salesman does -- how many tickets and how much money we're raising," said Kenneth Brennan.Brennan spent 50 years in law enforcement. He worked 22 years with the Port Authority Police in New York, and then spent eight years as a sheriff's deputy in New Jersey. The last 20 years, he worked as a parking enforcement officer at University of California, San Diego.Brennan told the 10News I-Team that UCSD has illegally been engaged in a ticket quota system."They seem to be more interested in the money, the revenue coming in," he claimed.At UCSD, Brennan specialized in catching people using stolen, borrowed or counterfeit disabled placards to get prime, free on-campus parking.He won awards for his work, and when he retired in June 2008, UCSD brought him back to campus part-time to focus on placard abuse."During that 10 months, I made 44 arrests just working two days a week," he pointed out.But he was told six weeks ago he wasn't bringing in enough money. He said placard abuse is a misdemeanor so the fines go to the city of San Diego, not the university. He said that was a problem for his supervisor, Marty Greenawalt."My position was in jeopardy, and to justify my position he wanted me to give out five parking citations a day," Brennan explained.Fines for routine parking citations go to the university, a revenue source for the campus after recent state cutbacks."Suppose I can't find five citations? Do I make them up? Do I give cheesy tickets out? That's why the quota system is in play," he said.The quota system is strictly prohibited by the California Vehicle Code, which states no agencies, including the University of California system, "may establish any policy requiring (a) quota (for) arrests (or) citations." Comparisons of ticket writing between officers are also banned.Defense attorney Anthony Solare said there is good reason that quotas are illegal."The law is pretty clear. The reason they are not in the interest of the public good is that it injects a reason for an officer to write a ticket that could very well not be a valid one," he said.Brennan said he saw officers write more tickets because of comparisons at UCSD."What they do is publish a list of how many citations each officer gives and then they mail it to each officer," he said.Those high on the list got rewards, like iPods or cameras, while those low on the list were chastised, he said.A week after Brennan refused to write the five extra tickets, he was let go with a letter alleging his "unwillingness to perform all the duties assigned.""What they fired me for, technically, is a quota, which is against the law," he said.Brennan said he complained to a vice-chancellor at UCSD and the school's human relations department, but didn't hear back until the I-Team contacted UCSD.UCSD denied that quotas are taking place, and issued the following statement:
"As part of its mission to foster the best possible working and learning environment, UC San Diego provides a variety of services for students, faculty and staff with disabilities, including parking services.As required by the University of California Regents and the California State Assembly, no state tax funds are used to support parking operations at UC campuses. In its operation of self-supporting parking facilities, UC San Diego's Transportation Services Department administers parking operations on the central campus, at its medical centers, Scripps Institution of Oceanography and other satellite properties. Faculty, students, staff and visitors who park vehicles on university property are subject to fees sufficient to cover the cost of construction, maintenance, and administration of parking facilities.The campus also embraces diversity, equity, and inclusion as essential ingredients of academic excellence in higher education. Handicap-accessible parking spaces, designated by the wheelchair symbol, are available in every UC San Diego parking lot and the number of those spaces complies with state and federal laws. The university also routinely offers information and education to faculty staff and students on the importance of properly using handicap-accessible parking spaces. In the 2008-09 fiscal year, UC San Diego parking compliance officers issued 244 citations for violations related to parking in handicap-accessible spaces. During the 2008-09 fiscal year, 64,318 parking citations were issued and total revenues of $2,589,514 were collected. All revenue from parking citations that exceeds the cost of collection is used for alternative transportation initiatives.In order to address parking issues that relate to the Americans with Disabilities Act, Parking and Transportation also is in the process of forming a working committee, including Community Advocates for Disability Rights and Education, the Office for Students with Disabilities, and the Coalition of University Employees.UC San Diego parking compliance officers enforce all campus parking rules. The compliance officers also write citations that apply to handicap-accessible parking placard abuses in cooperation with UC San Diego Police, whose officers make arrests related to misdemeanor placard infractions.There is no quota system at UC San Diego regarding any type of parking or transportation citation. Several departments, including the Transportation Services Department, participated in a campus incentive award program in 2005 through 2007 in which the names of exemplary employees who were nominated by their supervisors were entered into a monthly drawing to win either a camera or an iPod. The program was discontinued in 2007 because of budgetary constraints."