Bell, California, Police Memo Outlines Rules for Motorist Baseball

Wow.

A memo discovered in Bell police files appears to outline a game in which police officers compete to issue tickets, impound cars and arrest motorists.

Titled the “Bell Police Department Baseball Game,” the memo assigns “singles,” “doubles,” “triples” and “home runs” to progressively more serious infractions, starting with parking tickets and moving on to vehicle impounds and felony arrests of drivers. “Non-performers,” the memo says, are “sent for minor league rehab stint.”

The discovery of the memo comes as the U.S. Department of Justice is investigating whether Bell police violated the civil rights of residents through aggressive towing of cars and code enforcement. Part of the investigation focuses on claims by some officers that the department had quotas for issuing tickets and impounding cars, which they said was done to raise revenue for the city. Some officers said they were reprimanded when they did not meet goals.

It’s the first document suggesting a concerted effort to have officers pull over more cars, though it’s unclear who wrote the memo and whether department brass condoned it.

At least two Bell police officials said they were familiar with the memo, which they said circulated a few years ago. Bell Police Capt. Anthony Miranda said he thought a few patrolmen wrote it “to challenge themselves” and when department leaders found out about it, they “squashed it.”

“I think guys created it on their own and when the administration heard about it, they put a stop to it,” added Lt. Ty Henshaw. Department leaders said “It’s cool and fun and we appreciate the motivation, but it’s not going to look good.”

I suppose it's possible that this memo and the contemporaneous complaints of illegal towing, ticketing, and other harassment of motorists, coupled with the resulting revelation that Bell city officials were drawing massive salaries while the city went deep into the red . . . are entirely coincidental. Seems unlikely, though, doesn't it?

Also, assuming Capt. Miranda (great name!) is telling the truth, isn't it at least a little problematic that upon learning that some of their officers were making a game of due process, Bell police officials merely "squashed" the memo, instead of investigating and disciplining the officers responsible?

Here's my favorite part of the memo:

Honor system in place and violation will result in one day suspension.

Well of course. In our game to deprive motorists of their rights in order to enrich grossly overpaid city officials, there's no place for cheaters! Honor among thieves, and all that.

Reason's ongoing coverage of the Bell, California, scandal here.

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  • Brett L||

    Those cops better hope the DoJ investigators don't have a game of Dirty Cop Baseball going.

  • The Gobbler||

    WIN!

  • Anyway||

    This incident proves yet again why Somalia is superior to California.

  • The Other Kevin||

    The point at which law enforcement became an income generator was a turning point in the decline of our society, IMHO.

  • ||

    Smartest thing my home state of PA ever did was make radar illegal for local cops. Only the staties can use it.

  • Ted S.||

    They don't want the locals horning in on their racket.

  • ||

    Also, assuming Capt. Miranda (great name!) is telling the truth, isn't it at least a little problematic that upon learning that some of their officers were making a game of due process, Bell police officials merely "squashed" the memo, instead of investigating and disciplining the officers responsible?

    I'm surprised they aren't going after the leaker, although that might be going on behind the scenes.

  • DNS||

    I'm surprised they aren't going after the leaker, although that might be going on behind the scenes.

    A profession, steeped in authoritarianism, guilty of eating their young? Surely you jest.

  • Spencer||

    Doesn't every city have quotas and treat citations as a revenue stream? isn't this why we have red light cameras and speeding cameras?

  • ||

    Agreed. Traffic cops write traffic tickets. Meter maids write parking tickets. Call it a "goal" but it is still a quota.

  • ||

    Yes, but they deny it as if pissing down our backs and telling us it's raining isn't obvious. This has been going on for a long time.

  • Bob Dylan||

    It's a warm raaaaaaain's
    A gonna fall.

  • DNS||

    Doesn't every city have quotas and treat citations as a revenue stream? isn't this why we have red light cameras and speeding cameras?

    But..but..Public Safety!?! Think of the children!

  • hmm||

    Yes
    and Yes

    At least in my experience with local governments

  • ||

    Still not getting the distaste for red light cameras/speeding cameras. As far as I can tell the cameras have never pulled anyone over and searched their car for drugs, have they?

  • ||

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    “It’s cool and fun and we appreciate the motivation, but it’s not going to look good.”

    No doubt "cool and fun" for the more unprofessional LEO involved, and definitely doesn't look good. It's just that how it would look shouldn't be the prime motivating factor to put a stop to the activity. Terrible leadership.

  • ||

    That's not all:

    Texas Leaguer
    Speeding but the driver is hot so you let her off with a warning.

    Grand Slam
    Get a touch of boob during a random stop and frisk.

    Caught foul tip
    Get a touch of manboob during a random stop and frisk.

  • Extended Warren T||

    Inside the park home-run:
    Jerking off while driving around on parole.

  • Ragin Cajun||

    Caught stealing
    When this memo gets leaked

  • Extended Warren T||

    *patrol*

    Called strike three:

    When a dumb-ass commentator uses the wrong word and then clicks on the wrong button to write the correction.

  • ||

    I liked it just fine the first time.

  • creech||

    "This one's outta here!" When cop caught in wrong-doing is dismissed from the force. Archaic - has been replaced with "Here, take a seat on the bench."

  • DNS||

    Bunt:
    Poking a barely legal teen.

  • ||

    Butcher Boy: pretending you're about to poke a barely legal teen but tasing her instead.

  • DNS||

    Pinch Hitter:
    Punching a hooker after feeling her up in the back of the squad car, and finding man meat.

  • ||

    Error
    We don't make no fucking errors, punk.

  • Scott||

    Fielder's Choice:
    The victim offender gets to choose the officer's actions, but must make their own "sacrifice."

  • DNS||

    SAFE!:
    Our pensions and benefits.

  • ||

    Sacrifice fly
    You write the ticket, but ticketee "talks to the judge" with your partner.

  • ||

    Grounder

    Shooting a small dog.
    But hey, it acted tough!!

  • Extended Warren T||

    Patrol! Goddammit.

    Though with [these] guys it may still be appropriate.

  • hmm||

    Fuckin' dirty cops, how do they work?

  • ||

    There's corruption all up in this bitch!

  • Scott||

    I'd target city officials.

    But seriously, this sounds like something from Super Troopers.

  • DNS||

    Fuckin' dirty cops, how do they work?

    *Lights Dunphy Signal*

  • Really?||

    Ah so someone else gets to deal with their own version of New Rome.

  • Cliché Bandit||

    I swear every time we bring up new Rome on this board i break out in hives. Only those who truley experienced they particular brand of evil can understand.

    In better news, my current mayor said in council, on record, loudly, that Red Light cameras have nothing to do with saftey, only revenue generation and he was visibly angry the council was going to vote 5 to 2 in favor of installing them. I have neve felt love for a public official like that before.

  • ||

    Reason Classic Thread Flashback: Cops vs. Skateboarders

  • ||

    Weird. My sole comment was to rag on the Segway. Remember the hype on that vaguely transportational thingee? Ye gods.

  • Ragin Cajun||

    You were right to warn about the Segway menace.

  • ||

    I forgot about that. That sucks.

  • DNS||

    I do. Now they come in a tricyclic flavor.

  • ||

    Armed?

  • sevo||

    And Honda has Kamen chewing on 1/2" bolts:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch_popup?v=cuIJRsAuCHQ

  • ||

  • The Gobbler||

    My god, you were still black bakck then!

  • ||

    Earliest comment of mine that I can find. Orange, but a false email address.

    It may have been the first, but some of thecomments have been lost the various server crashes.

  • ||

    I'd like some of my comments to be lost.

  • Pip||

    I sure miss Smacky.

  • ||

    There are many dearly departed. She used to post occasionally at Urkobold, so she's particularly missed by us.

  • Vermont Gun Owner||

    Damn. I didn't comment on that one. And that was the summer that I just laid around on Reason and playing online poker until my girlfriend came over.

  • Ty Copp||

    GRAAH!

  • ||

    Don't be silly. The police mans is our friendses. I remember learning all about it in first grade. The police mans helps you across the street and finds your little brother when he gets lost in the department store and the fire mans gets your cats out of the tree. And they all look like they were painted by Norman Rockwell.

  • Cliché Bandit||

    And they all look like they were painted by Norman Rockwell


    What, bald, fat, and pink in the face from the liquor?

    What's that lassie? Timmy is trapped in a well?

  • Cliché Bandit||

    FUCKING NESTED COMMENTS, HOW DO THEY WORK!

  • Cliché Bandit||

    allright, i quit, i am goin' home.

  • Amakudari||

    So seriously, where is that worshipper-of-all-things-porcine dunphy? For a while there I was impressed with his ability to just take the blows without even a hint of change to his worldview.

    I'm pretty sure no one at the bank I worked at played Denied Loan Modification Bingo.

  • ||

  • Cliché Bandit||

    half way through the book...if they keep killing/marginalizing my favorite characters I am going to burn the damn thing. This aint no Robert Jordan.

  • ||

    You better get used to Martin killing/raping/maiming his characters. Because he does it a lot. Don't even think of having a character that you can't handle if they get killed.

  • Cliché Bandit||

    damn

  • Brett L||

    That's what ended me reading Jordan's stuff. Four giant books later he hasn't killed a single important character. Shit, he could at least Gandalf somebody.

  • ||

    Gandalf the verb?

  • Brett L||

    To Gandalf - the killing off of a character in a work of fantasy literature only to bring them back in a more powerful incarnation when the plot demands a rebalancing of forces.

  • Vermont Gun Owner||

    Mat.

  • ||

    Again, I must protest the use of OT. Is it on topic or off topic? Or does it mean overtime or Ovaltine Time? Or OrgasmaTron?

  • DNS||

    Again, I must protest the use of OT. Is it on topic or off topic? Or does it mean overtime or Ovaltine Time? Or OrgasmaTron?

    Ostentatious Typography.

  • ||

    OT for On-Topic would be redundant. You callin' me "redundant", punk?

  • ||

    I'm calling you void for vagueness. BP used "OT" for the other meaning (which other meaning I leave to you to decide) only yesterday.

  • ||

    You are now officially worse than Episiarch.

  • ||

    Hey, at least I'm not the dictator of Haiti.

  • Invisible Finger||

    If patrolmen wrote this memo, how would they threaten a fellow patrolman with a one day suspension?

    Miranda is fulla shit.

  • ||

    I had the same thought.

  • DNS||

    Miranda is fulla shit.

    If you are referring to the the SCOTUS decision, I'm quite sure these porcine procurators of justice would agree wholeheartedly with you.

  • juris imprudent||

    Speaking of doubles - Balko delivers a pair of nut punches... on a freakin' Tuesday. 'scuse me while I go writhe in a corner. I may have to skip reason on Friday if I want to have any kind of a weekend.

  • دردشه عراقية||

    Thanks

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