Recording highlights rift at RPD

July 11, 2012 9:00:00 PM PDT
A rift in the Raleigh Police Department is growing wider. Allegations of a quota system pushing traffic tickets may now lead to an internal investigation.

An audio tape you'll only hear on ABC11 is at the center of that investigation.

(Click here to listen to the complete audio tape.)

ABC11 got the nine minute recording from sources, who said it shows a high-ranking department official dressing down an officer for speaking out against those alleged ticket quotas.

"You went on TV and you lied," said Capt. Chris Carrigan to Officer Trey Walters. "I don't understand why you stood up there and lied, and inflamed the public about a ticket quota when we don't measure tickets."

Our sources said this audio was actually recorded by Carrigan, who called Walters to a meeting to voice his displeasure on the record.

"Let me be very clear here Trey. We're having a conversation. You don't get the option as to whether you answer here or not," said Carrigan. "You're an officer. I'm a captain."

"Correct," answered Walters.

"We're going to have a conversation here," said Carrigan.

Walters is the face of recent dissent in the Raleigh Police Department. He's the officer who went public last week with concerns that RPD's new evaluation system, PPM, will lead to quotas -- cops forced to write extra tickets to get good reviews.

"Now, Chief Dolan is taking us down a path towards a quasi quota system that will have police officers chasing numbers instead of criminals," said Walters in an interview last week with ABC11.

Sources said the very next day, Carrigan called Walters into his office, and, in plain sight, started recording. Walters was clearly uncomfortable.

"Can I take a step back and ask what we're talking about and why," asked Walters.

"We'll get there," said Carrigan.

"I don't feel, if this has anything to do with yesterday, I don't feel comfortable talking about it," said Walters.

Walters doesn't say much during the nine minute recording, but Carrigan does.

"Got a call from a buddy that I've known for 20 years," said Carrigan. "I haven't spoke to him in a while and he says 'How you doing? " Not Much. 'Filling up your quota?' That's embarrassing."

Carrigan never threatened Walters, but he let him know he's not happy.

"You've embarrassed the department, you've yourself and the union, in my opinion," said Carrigan.

Carrigan also told Walters that he got his facts wrong.

"Did you research that before you said it? Traffic numbers are down son," said Carrigan. "They've been down every year for the past couple. [It] blows my mind that you didn't do any basic research, did not talk about any issues that are real, and instead decided to inflame the public."

The I-Team confirmed that traffic tickets are down 20 percent from last year.

"So, the next time you get up there and talk about something, make sure you do your homework," said Carrigan.

The recording ends with some advice and a request.

"The police department is more than you, and it's more than me. It's more than the chief," said Carrigan. "It's everyone who's applied to the police department. It's everyone who's going to apply in the future and you've damaged that and it's embarrassing, go back to the desk if you don't have anything else to say son."

"OK, I would like a copy of that," said Walters.

"No problem," replied Carrigan.

Raleigh police continue to deny that there's a quota system and wouldn't comment on whether the recording was appropriate, or even authentic. However, our sources confirm it is.  We also have a statement from the police union, which says in part: "We are disappointed that a Raleigh police captain addressed one of our members in an inappropriate and disrespectful manner. Our members have the right to speak to the media concerning matters of public concern. The local union trusts that the City of Raleigh HR Department will conduct a thorough investigation and handle this situation appropriately."

In an interview last week, Walters said the new program Dolan implemented unfairly forces officers to write more tickets and pull over more drivers. A new evaluation system for officers was put into place July 1 and Walters said some aren't happy.

"Morale is down significantly" said Walters.

Walters said he knew there could be retaliation or worse but he didn't care.

"The feedback for this system is that it's broken. It's flawed. It doesn't work," said Walters. "Our concerns aren't being listened to. Our questions aren't being answered.

Walters spoke out against a new evaluation system., which is a new way Raleigh police will be kept in line. Priority Performance Measure Evaluations, or PPMS, is a system Walters said will measure quantity not quality.

A grievance that was filed last Thursday claiming, "There are legitimate concerns that this system thinly veils a true quota system. Officers looking to improve their scores are left with little or no options but to target citizens in situations where discretion would normally have been used. Or worse, the employee will be required to write a minimum amount of tickets or make a certain number of arrests."

After Walters' interview aired, Dolan told ABC11 that the program was designed to count the number of various activities officers perform on duty to improve policing.

"These officers are performing admirably," said Dolan. "I mean they are exceeding our expectations and I have no reason to believe that they won't under this new system. But they've got to give it time. And I will not sit back while they scare my public."

Dolan said the quota allegations are misguided.

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