Local News

Teamsters decry new Raleigh police 'quasi-quota' evaluations

Posted July 3, 2012 7:58 p.m. EDT
Updated July 3, 2012 11:47 p.m. EDT

— More than 100 Raleigh police officers are filing formal grievances against the department over a new performance evaluation program that grades officers by counting the number of activities they perform on duty, a Teamsters group said Tuesday.

The Teamsters Local 391, which represents the Raleigh Police Protective Association – an interest group of nearly 600 officers – called the new Priority Performance Measure Evaluation System a "troubling, arbitrary, quasi-quota system."

They scheduled a news conference for 2 p.m. Thursday to discuss their concerns.

The performance evaluation system, instituted July 1 by Chief Harry Dolan, grades officers by counting how many traffic stops they conduct or how many tickets they write.

Dolan said in a statement late Tuesday that the program was implemented after a yearlong trial period, during which he kept Teamsters representatives informed about its progress.

"In December, I met personally with a Teamsters representative, informed him of the July 1 go-live date and provided the program manual for review," Dolan said. "No concerns were voiced."

Another department leader met with the Teamsters in the spring to discuss the program, he said. No significant concerns were brought up at that meeting either.

"As always, I am eager to speak with any of my officers, including those represented by the Teamsters, to discuss any concerns or confusion," Dolan said.

The chief's remarks came after the Teamsters released a statement Tuesday evening criticizing the new evaluation procedure. They contend the grading system is not an accurate way to judge an officer's effectiveness.

"For example, an officer is scored lower if he or she writes fewer tickets than other officers," the group wrote in a statement. "This measure does not take into account what types of activities that the officer may have been engaged in, like investigating a serious crime, which may have interfered with his or her ability to write tickets."

The Teamsters say the evaluation system will hurt morale and lessen "the department's ability to further reduce crime rates in the city."

In the past year, officers have repeatedly found themselves at odds with Dolan.

In December, the Teamsters blasted Dolan and other department leaders for "misbehavior and mismanagement," in part due to the handling of a sexual misconduct probe that led to the firing of Sgt. Rick Armstrong.

Armstrong, who was president of the police association, has said that the results of an Internal Affairs probe – which found that he had sex while on duty with a woman in a neighborhood that he patrolled – are false. He is suing the city for wrongful termination and appealing to the city's Civil Services Commission to get his job back.

The Teamsters have charged that Dolan wanted to get rid of Armstrong after he was elected president of the association, and that two other leaders of the police union were placed on administrative leave for alleged involvement in Armstrong's case.