Criminal Justice

Great Moments in Police Professionalism


The L.A. Times reports on some unusual motivational techniques in the L.A. Sheriff's Department:

One recent competition, described in an internal Sheriff's Department e-mail obtained by The Times, was called "Operation Any Booking." The object was to arrest as many people as possible within a specific 24-hour period.

Other one-day competitions have included "Operation Vehicle Impound," a contest aimed at seizing as many cars as possible. And another challenged deputies to see how many gang members and other suspected criminals could be stopped and questioned.

The prize for winning was nothing more than "bragging rights," said Lt. James Tatreau, who helped organize the events that involved teams of deputies patrolling the southeast Los Angeles cities of Lakewood, Bellflower, Paramount, Artesia and Hawaiian Gardens. The station is one of 23 that make up the nation's largest sheriff's department.

"It's just a friendly competition to have a little fun out here," Tatreau said. It was Tatreau who sent the e-mail about the booking contest Aug. 15. Tatreau said he viewed the games, which began in July, as a morale booster for overworked deputies who, because of staffing shortages, are required to work four overtime shifts a month.

Meanwhile, the police problems in Chicago are only getting worse:

Videotapes of angry officers savagely beating civilians and charges that a murder plot was hatched within an elite special operations unit have Chicago's troubled police department reeling again.

Adding to the department's woes is word from federal prosecutors that they are investigating claims that homicide detectives tortured suspects into confessing to murders that landed them on death row in the 1980s.


Craig B. Futterman, a University of Chicago law professor, says such investigations [of police misconduct] in the past were shoddy and rarely resulted in discipline against the officers.

"If they investigated crimes the way they investigate complaints against police officers they would never close a case," Futterman says.

Part of the problem is that the city seems to have difficulty taking complaints against police officers seriously.

More fun with Chicago PD here.

NEXT: "She Bitch-Slapped Me"

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  1. ugh sounds like the LAPD got some sales guys to come in and set up “spifs.”

    “If you guys can tow 300 cars today, everyone’s going home with 100 bucks! How about that! Now let’s get out there and sell tow some product!”

  2. Shouldn’t need a contest, there’s billions of low lifes in Hawaiian Gardens and Bellflower, just waiting to be booked. Kick a rock down any street and you’ll hit at least one.

  3. The winners of the ticket-writing contest get to participate in “Taser Tuesday.” Of course, if you have “cause” to do so, every day can be Taser-iffic!

  4. The object was to arrest as many people as possible within a specific 24-hour period.

    And cops wonder why people want to have zero contact with them. Let’s see–because they might be looking to arrest you on the flimsiest of reasons just to win “bragging rights”?

    Maybe I’m just getting a little worked up here, but I can’t help seeing cops as 1) inhuman animals and 2) the enemy. Being arrested can seriously fuck up your life, and cost a ton of money, and they have no problem making a competition out of it?

  5. I have an idea for a contest! Operation Go Fuck Thyself.

    Let’s see who can say the phrase “Go Fuck Thyself” to the most police officers before they get arrested.

  6. Let’s see who can say the phrase “Go Fuck Thyself” to the most police officers before they get arrested.

    And we have a 100 way tie at one! Not a really good contest idea there, Taktix?. 😉

  7. Taktix

    You go first.

  8. The prize for winning was nothing more than “bragging rights,”

    Lame. If California would use the death penalty more often, they could have given away tickets to an execution, like in Reno 911!

    “Getting tickets to an execution is like getting front row tickets to NASCAR when you just know Jeff Gordon’s gonna die”.

  9. What bothers me, is why this isn’t a bigger issue. The police are nothing more than organized crime. Why is everybody so willing to accept this?

    Maybe when there are enough video cameras things will change.

  10. Maybe this is why a twenty year old Sheriffs Deputy in Wisconsin thinks he can walk into a party and gun down half a dozen people, including the girl who apparently “spurned” him.

    He was probably surprised when the other cops came to arrest him.

  11. Warren,

    1. Most people don’t know. The news avoids this stuff unless it’s super-shocking (like the bar beating.) The less egregious stuff gets ignored. Even if they do know about a few isolated incidents, they seem, well, isolated. It’s not until you hear about the regularity of such occurances that you realize that it’s not solely the fault of the individual officers.

    2. Most people don’t care. They assume that it will never happen to them since they don’t break laws, or only break the “little ones.”

    3. Most people think any problem that does exist is limited to their particular neighborhood/region/city/county. “Well, that’s the price of living in a podunk craphole/big thriving city like X.”

    4. Anyone who somehow gets through the gauntlet of items 1-3 doesn’t know what to do. Besides the obvious (and reasonable) problem of “how do I know I won’t be retaliated against?” there’s also a “who do I contact, what do I say, what affects what?” problem since most people have no relationship with their city/county government.

  12. In context, there’s an interesting story over at MSNBC:

    FARMINGTON, Mo. – It’s a hefty price for a pastry: A man accused of stealing a 52-cent doughnut could face time in jail.
    Authorities said Scott A. Masters, 41, slipped the doughnut into his sweat shirt without paying, then pushed away a clerk who tried to stop him as he fled the store.
    The push is being treated as minor assault, which transforms a misdemeanor shoplifting charge to a strong-armed robbery with a potential prison term of five to 15 years. Because he has a criminal history, prosecutors say they could seek 30 years.

    Wonder if Farmington Police are running a contest?

    Here’s the link:

    (Sorry, haven’t mastered HTML links yet.)

  13. And we have a 100 way tie at one! Not a really good contest idea there, Taktix?. 😉

    I was going to say something to the effect of “I can get away with at least one time, seeing as we have the 1st Amendment.”

    Sadly, before I finished typing, I realized that we are gifted these privileges anymore.

    Maybe some Krystal burgers will cheer me up 🙁

  14. @ Legate Damar

    Who is a citizen suppose to contact? I sent the local media around my area an email about the website. I thought it might get a little play? Not a peep. My thoughts are that it is to the media’s benefit to be quiet about such things, so they maintain good relations with police, so they can get the “scoop” on certain stories. If a reporter writes about bad cops, thier employer could be shunned from getting inside information from the cops.

  15. Maybe when there are enough video cameras things will change.

    Surprisingly, I haven’t seen a Darrow thd on this here.

  16. Legate Damar,
    Put me in the #4 column too.

  17. I wonder if the murderous deputy in Wisconsin has any friends that will contact CopsWritingCops for him. No professional courtesy at all, what a joke.

  18. A Always
    B Be
    C Coercing

  19. Anonymo, you read my mind, except I had “Cuffing”.

  20. We need another Serpico to thin out their ranks.

  21. I’m actually OK with precincts running internal competitions for most arrests or most traffic violations caught and ticketed. It is, after all, their explicit job to arrest and charge lawbreakers.

    If “bragging rights” is all it takes to turn them into efficient worker-bees… fine.

    But only on the strict condition that even one mistaken charge earns the offending officer a seriously stiff penalty. (A wishful example: 24 hours in jail… in general population.)

  22. “Its your police state, I’m just trying to survive in it.” ?

  23. what, no references to the reno 911 scavenger hunt?

    “say, are you a jewish fellow by any chance? how tall are you?”

  24. edna,
    You must’ve missed this at 11:49

    “Lame. If California would use the death penalty more often, they could have given away tickets to an execution, like in Reno 911!”

  25. Maybe some Krystal burgers will cheer me up 🙁

    Krystal Burgers, Mmmm. One of the few things I miss about Mississippi is Krystals, ~2;00 AM. They alsways assured that my mouth would be a biohazard zone in the morning.

  26. Huh. A couple years ago I had a day off, and headed out for some exercise on my bike. I rode through Lakewood and got pulled over by a cop. Yeah, pulled over on a bike. A white male in a sweat suit. I asked him flat out what profile I could have possibly fit, but he just said a grown man out exercizing on a “work day” as suspicious or something like that. Whatever. I was sent on my way, and I have never shopped at the Lakewood Mall since. I’ll keep the sales tax closer to home, thanks.

  27. Sadly, I have come to the conclusion that we have exactly the type of law enforcement we deserve.

    We are all potential perps and the LEO’s just have to create an excuse to make any of our lives miserable. Our Constitution is just a Goddamned piece of paper to most LEOs.

    Over the last 20 years of my life, I have grown to fear and loathe LEOs.

  28. In Brooklyn, after you are beaten in a case of mistaken identity, the police will leave you to die.

  29. What we need is 100,000 more retarded cops on the streets. Can’t wait for the 08 election issues to start popping up.

  30. ChicagoTom,

    That guy’s hat nearly gave me a heart attack.

    Anyway, I’m surprised that the NYPD is honest enough to call the bureaucracy that handles complaints from non-cops the Civilian Complaint Review Board. I thought that talk was only informal cop-lingo…

  31. mo, oh shit, i did, sorry.

    how tall are you?

  32. I wish I hadn’t read this post. Yesterday I went home over lunch to retrieve my office key card which I forgot and was stopped by two narcs while waiting for a train on my way back to work. The “bad” cop in this dynamic duo said that reaching down to adjust my pant cuffs constituted suspicious behavior. They made me step back out of the turnstile and submit to a search. Those of you who have ever been detained like this will know that citing your rights only makes these guys more belligerent, as if civil liberty is a nuisance and obstacle to their objectives. Before it was all over I found myself standing on a piss-soaked el platform in my socks as the “bad” cop searched my sneakers for RPGs and the “good” cop took down my info. When I asked why I was really being detained, they naturally replied with the standard “just doing our job” and “making sure you’re not buying rocks out here” lines. Mind you that “out here” happens to be two blocks from where I actually live. To them, all the black folks in my neighborhood are dealers and all the white folks are buyers.

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