Sunday: OHP grades troopers on tickets written, records show
BY ZIVA BRANSTETTER World Enterprise Editor
Saturday, February 02, 2013
The Oklahoma Highway Patrol is using a formula to evaluate troopers based in part on the number of tickets they write and number of arrests made, records show.
One policy sets goals for northeastern Oklahoma’s Troop L of about four tickets for every 10 traffic stops and 30 arrests per year for alcohol offenses. Some troopers say the new policy takes away their discretion to issue a warning rather than a ticket and are unhappy about the policies.
“I think it’s detrimental to the way that the public sees me,” said one trooper. The Tulsa World agreed not to publish the trooper’s name, as well as the names of several other sources interviewed for this story. Troopers said they were concerned they could jeopardize their jobs if they spoke out publicly about the new policies.
Capt. George Brown, a spokesman for the patrol, said the policies are goals for 2013 that will be incorporated into troopers’ “performance monitoring programs” as part of a quarterly review process. The goals — based on troop average data in different areas of the state — promote and ensure public safety, he said.
“We think that the public expects a certain amount of work and professionalism from the troopers. ... This is part of our goal to reduce injury collisions,” Brown said.
The World requested copies of the policies for all of the agency’s troops, copies of previous policies and data on tickets, warnings and arrests by division. Brown said he could not provide that information because the agency’s attorney is out of state but that it would be provided in the near future.
Public Safety Commissioner Michael Thompson and Col. Kerry Pettingill, chief of the patrol, did not respond to a request for an interview for this story.
Records obtained by the World show troopers in several areas of the state are being evaluated on a formula that takes into account factors including the number of tickets written versus warnings issued. Warnings issued by troopers for traffic infractions do not count against a driver’s record and are not reported to insurers.
Troopers are also being evaluated based on the number of DUI arrests made, records show.
Brown said the DUI arrests were a common part of the goals, which are based on data gathered by the OHP and other sources.
Read more in Sunday's World.
Records obtained by the World show Oklahoma Highway Patrol troopers in several areas of the state are being evaluated on a formula that takes into account factors including the number of tickets written versus warnings issued. Tulsa World file