Auburn Cop Fired for Resisting Quotas Gets Online Support; City Officials Deny Deny Deny

Wednesday’s ReasonTV video “Cop Fired for Speaking Out Against Ticket and Arrest Quotas” is making waves, with over 150,000 YouTube views in 24 hours and a top link on Drudge Report.

The piece features Justin Hanners, a former member of the Auburn, Alabama police department who refused to keep quiet about "contact" quotas that began after the arrival of Chief Tommy Dawson in 2010 (neither Hanners nor Dawson currently work for the police department).

In response to the video, one viewer made a Facebook group in support of Hanners. The group already has 6,000 members. Another viewer set up a fund for donations to help with ongoing legal proceedings. Hanners' email account has been flooded with support and offers to send groceries and job-placement services. Media outlets are swarming him for interviews and he reports he is happy for the aid and attention.

The police department declined my requests to talk during the making of the documentary. And now the city has now made a statement that there is not a quota system in Auburn:

Chief Register, as well as former Chief Dawson, have made it clear that they do not require quotas in the Auburn Police Division. If any Auburn Police officer is unclear on the expectations of the Chief or his supervisor, Chief Register, Public Safety Director Bill James and I all have open door policies and will be happy to hear their concerns and make our expectations clear.

Hanners kept copies all of his correspondence throughout his grievance process, including a response from the Public Safety Director Bill James specifically addressing Hanners' discomfort with the quotas. James said:

To make 100 contacts, which include among others, traffic stops, issuing warrants, field interviews and arrests, requires about two contacts per shift hour. Making two contacts per hour is not unreasonable and still seems to leave a lot of time to perform other duties that are detailed in your job description. Your supervisors as well as I have an expectation that each employee needs to be productive during their time on shift.

James continues:

This production is measured using different matrix’s, including numbers. This is not any different than quantifying miles of streets paved or number of fire hydrants painted.

I asked Hanners to respond to this claim.

"Streets and fire hydrants don’t have Constitutional rights. They don’t pay taxes. They don’t vote. We’re supposed to protect and serve the citizens,” Hanners said, “They’re not to be looked at as inanimate objects that we have to keep rank and file like our streets being neat and our fire hydrants being painted.”

The city's statement also says that Hanners' claim that he was fired for violating a gag order is unsubstantiated. But they "cannot comment in detail on the specific basis for the termination." Hanners walked me through his grievance process and the internal affairs investigation:

"Well, the day my grievance was over, I get called into the Chief’s office, and was told that some evidence I presented was from an internal affairs investigation and the gag order had been placed and I wasn’t supposed to have it. So then the Chief, who is the suspect in my grievance, now starts an internal affairs investigation into me and my partner to see if we somehow compromised his own investigation into his own wrongdoing where he had found he had done nothing wrong. So in this investigation, they found that we had violated a gag order and that I had violated the city’s reporting policy by reporting these people.  And they ultimately fired me for it and suspended my partner who gave me a statement that said everything I was saying was true."

Auburn Assistant City Manager James Buston is also saying that Reason did not do our journalistic duty:

“They did not even offer us the opportunity to respond before they put it together. It’s a pretty shoddy news organization, I would say.”

Actually, I have an email response from the police department, with the public safety director copied, declining my interview request.

Here's the video, "Cop Fired for Speaking Out Against Ticket and Arrest Quotas":

Update: Assistant City Manager Buston was unaware of my email exchange with the Auburn Police Department and graciously apologized for his statement upon learning about it. 

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  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Auburn Assistant City Manager James Buston is also saying that Reason did not do our journalistic duty:

    “They did not even offer us the opportunity to respond before they put it together. It’s a pretty shoddy news organization, I would say.”

    Obviously, Buston is a Rockwell crony.

  • UnCivilServant||

    Where's "Alabamam"?

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Where's "Alabamam"?

    He declined the noun in the singular accusative case. Didn't they teach you how to decline a first declination Latin noun, you unlettered barbarian?

  • UnCivilServant||

    What, you expect a public school to actually educate?

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    True, Tracy Oppenheimer should have declined the noun in the singular genetive case.

  • wareagle||

    hey, hey, hey. I'm a public school grad and, remarkably, able to structure a sentence properly and count to 100.

  • Scarecrow Repair||

    But not capitalize!

  • wareagle||

    Capitals are OveR-raTed.

  • UnCivilServant||

    Okay, they fixed the typo - and the squirrels hate me for exposing their Plague Squirrel Brigade.

  • flag flagit||

    haha, speaking of squirrels, can you spare a few nuts?
    http://www.indiegogo.com/proje...../x/3943753

  • mr simple||

    Hey, the 99% bad cops aren't going to let one good apple ruin the bunch.

  • sarcasmic||

    Considering he appeared to be the only one who had a problem with this.

  • Jordan||

    So, was that photo taken by a tactical photographer? What about that e-mail? Was it typed on a tactical keyboard?

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Well, obviously. The cop is so fucking tac-smart that he has his attention focused like a sniper's tactical laser beam on the brick wall in front of him as opposed to the open alleyway to his side.

  • UnCivilServant||

    There is an opening just above his hand, I think he's trying to sneak a peek over the wall. And not for 'business' purposes either.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    An opening he could still see if he were facing the other way.

    Jus' sayin'

  • db||

    “They did not even offer us the opportunity to respond before they put it together. It’s a pretty shoddy news organization, I would say.”

    "I mean, have you ever heard of a news organization that can't take dictation? Of course you haven't. Say, are you still on for golf Saturday?"
  • db||

    Bad close blockquote tag.

  • ||

    Buston is a pretty shoddy assistant city manager, regardless of his "apology".

  • ||

    Isn't it "matrices"? If you're gonna use big words like that, it helps to know basics like what the plural is. And there are no apostrophes in plurals anyways.

  • wareagle||

    And there are no apostrophes in plurals anyways.

    amazing, though, how often you see them.

  • Scarecrow Repair||

    But not capitals!

  • Anonymous Coward||

    If any Auburn Police officer is unclear on the expectations of the Chief or his supervisor, Chief Register, Public Safety Director Bill James and I all have open door policies and will be happy to hear their concerns and make our expectations clear.

    Their doors are always open to tell you to shut the fuck up and do as you're told.

    Making two contacts per hour is not unreasonable and still seems to leave a lot of time to perform other duties that are detailed in your job description. Your supervisors as well as I have an expectation that each employee needs to be productive during their time on shift.

    So if it's a quiet day in Auburn and no one is doing anything criminal, your officers are supposed to find two random citizens and "field interview" them? Some might interpret that as harrassment. What if your cop gave someone whose car broke down a ride to the gas station? Pulled a kitty out of a tree? Gave a stranded motorist a jump? Would that be considered "productive"?

  • itsnotmeitsyou||

    What if your cop gave someone whose car broke down a ride to the gas station? Pulled a kitty out of a tree? Gave a stranded motorist a jump? Would that be considered "productive"?

    No, none of those things produce revenue or intimidate the populace.

    I used to live in a small town with only a few cops. They would routinely walk around the town and talk to people. Not "hey citizen, let's see your papers" kind of talking, but "Hey Bob, how's Mary and the kids?" conversations. If this were the kind of contact he were talking about, this wouldn't be so bad of a thing. Casual conversation with a police officer can be a very pleasant experience when they're not expected to bust 2 people an hour. This type of police interaction is becoming rarer and rarer.

  • ||

    Casual conversation with a police officer can be a very pleasant experience

    Tell that to Sal Culosi. It's why I don't socialize with any cops, ever. Unfortunate, but they can't be trusted.

  • itsnotmeitsyou||

    In general, I agree. That situation was a much different place. It was the definition of small town where everyone knows everyone. Everyone in town knew those cops, where they lived, where they attended church, etc. When everyone knows the cops personally and the cops know everyone, there's a great deal of respect and civility that is mutually shared. Asshole cops don't last long in small towns, they go to the city where they can be assholes to random unknown people.

    The city I live in now, I won't open the door if they don't have a warrant and I pull my dogs inside when they are patrolling the neighborhood.

    IIRC, you live in the Arlington/Alexandria area, right? That is an area that you should NOT trust the cops. I know one of the cops that was involved in that incident with the guy open carrying at Pentagon Row. The guy flat out told me that the "scumbag" was lucky he didn't get shot. Fuck big city police. This is why I need to move back to BFE.

  • Paul.||

    Sal Culosi's case merely highlights the harm that gambling does to our communities. Shame on Mr. Culosi.

  • ||

    If any Auburn Police officer is unclear on the expectations of the Chief or his supervisor, Chief Register, Public Safety Director Bill James and I all have open door policies and will be happy to hear their concerns and make our expectations clear.

    The audio recording featured in the reason video makes it perfectly clear what the expectations are, in no uncertain terms.

  • itsnotmeitsyou||

    Let me translate to copspeak for you:

    "If any Auburn Hero doesn't know how to keep his damned mouth shut, we'll gladly remind him of who runs shit around here"

    Makes more sense now.

  • Paul.||

    Good work, Reason, good work.

    Now tag us in!

  • godzleaf||

    If Hanners knows what is good for him he won't use ACLU lawyers for representation in his litigation. He'll REALLY get fucked.

  • Agile Cyborg||

    And Auburn, Alabamy likely has no lemonade stands run by the youth of Suthern 'Merica in light of the Chieves and their personal quests to make and/or maintain the Auburn clovery.

  • Former employee||

    First Kevin Cowper is the real assistant city manager. Jim Buston is nothing but the IT Director who is disliked by ALL city employees due to his bullying but buddies with Charlie Duggan who made him the second City Manager. There are problems in all the departments where employees are terminated or disciplined due to speaking up about unethical practices. Most have to sign confidentiality agreements to keep quiet. There is so much more to the unethical practices performed by this City including the City Council. Thank God someone took a stand. It's a good old boy network.

  • LovinLife||

    We need MORE police officers like Justin Hanners! So rather than complain about it, I say do something about it. Change could start with this young man. Justin Hanners do us all a favor and run for MAYOR....Finally with a man standing up for the people, I think the people would have no problem putting this conscientious man in a position of power.

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