Police

A Tennessee Police Department's Last Officer Resigns Over Ticket Quotas

Ridgetop no longer has any police officers after recordings captured city officials demanding that the department write 210 citations a month.

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Ridgetop Police Chief Bryan Morris submitted his resignation on Friday. The Tennessee city is now without a police force and it's all due to a disagreement over illegal ticket quotas.

In January, FOX 17 released explosive reports that implicated Ridgetop Mayor Tony Reasoner and Vice Mayor McCaw Johnson in a scheme to generate revenue for the city of just over 2,000 by directing the police department as a whole to write a minimum of 210 tickets each month. The officers pushed back and finally took it upon themselves to secretly record Reasoner and Johnson. The recordings were then handed over to FOX 17.

In the recordings, Reasoner and Johnson talk about repayments to the city after the police payroll was $54,000 higher than the revenue from citations. The pair hoped that if the police wrote more tickets, it would generate new revenue that would fund the entire police payroll.

Section 39-16-516 of the Tennessee criminal code bars politicians and state agencies from disciplining a police officer solely based on the officer's ability to meet a ticket quota. The Ridgetop officers have argued that Reasoner and Johnson violated this law by demanding to see bi-weekly ticket reports from each officer. In one of the recordings, Johnson even attempted to leverage a raise for two officers and the rehire of another to encourage officers to meet the quota.

"Law enforcement is not about tickets. It's about trying to cut down on crime. That is a local government taking advantage of its people. That's not what we are here for," Officer Shawn Taylor, who captured the secret recordings on Chief Morris' behalf, declared at the time.

When asked by FOX 17 if he knew that ticket quotas were illegal, Reasoner replied, "Yes, we do. We know." McCaw, after denying that he demanded the quota, added that he was merely interested in "revenue stream."

The fight between the city officials and the police came to a head in June when officials voted to disband the department. After Robertson County Judge Bill Goodman blocked the city's decision, the police department was scaled down from five officers to one—Morris.

Morris submitted his resignation on Friday afternoon, effectively leaving the city without a police department.

The city will now search for a replacement police chief. In the meantime, the Robertson County Sheriff's Department will take over law enforcement operations in the city.

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41 responses to “A Tennessee Police Department's Last Officer Resigns Over Ticket Quotas

  1. Good for them.

  2. The police did not feel feeding the city government’s greed. Good for them.

  3. I wish more cops were like this.

    1. We do hear about this type of thing happening in very small towns. I suspect that when your town gets small enough, the guy whose neck your boot is on is the your neighbor, the guy who coaches your kids t-ball team or the pastor of your church. That probably gets hard to sell to the local constabulary.

      1. Good point. Its so much easier to kill and loot people you don’t know and don’t know you.

          1. Sad to say but that is a reality of the human condition. That’s why the first step in any genocide is to demonize and dehumanize the intended target.

            1. You mean like the way Reason talks about Trump supporters?

  4. Well this answers why no one ever sang, “Wish that I was on ol’ Ridge Top”.

  5. Finally some whistleblowers we can get behind – I hope they get equivalent jobs in some less openly thieving jurisdiction, though who knows if they’ve blotted their copybooks.

  6. Sounds like the wrong people resigned

    1. i don’t want a goldfish.

      1. It clearly states here on the form goldfish.

        Look I can show it to you. You are approved for one goldfish.

        Cat? Says nothing here about a cat. Here is your goldfish.

  7. Morris submitted his resignation on Friday afternoon, effectively leaving the city without a police department.

    The city will now search for a replacement police chief.

    Any bets on whether the new police chief will be as principled as the one that just quit?

  8. I DON’T TRUST THEM, WHAT ARE THEY SECRETLY UP TO?

  9. Now prosecute McCaw Johnson. I’ll bet he sings like a bird.

  10. 210 tickets for a population of 2000, or 1 out of every 10 men, women and children. That is insane; they must be targeting people from the metropolis of Goodlettsville going to the metropolis of Greenbrier.

    1. And that’s per month. Why not just slap down a head tax of one ticket per year for every resident? You could get rid of traffic court and make even more money!

    2. I’ll bet they want a speed trap on a highway running next to the town or something.

      1. A 4-lane US highway runs through the middle of town. Speed limit through is 40 with a 20mph school zone. So that’s the target right there.

        Even then that is a lot for such a small town.

        For my town of 10,000 I’ve seen as few as 2 citations for a single week. They typically do about 5-15 per week.

  11. OK, so much for the officers. I always felt the Navy would have run more efficiently without them anyway, and I don’t see how cops would be any different. Aren’t their any enlisted cops left?

    1. “and I don’t see how cops would be any different. Aren’t their any enlisted cops left?”

      The lowest ranked beat cop in the biggest police department is still a “police officer”, even in PDs that use military enlisted equivalent rank names.

      In these small PDs in small towns, the Chief of Police is frequently the only cop with any official rank.

    2. RTFA. The chief was the last cop.

  12. >>”Law enforcement is not about tickets. It’s about trying to cut down on crime.

    if you want to get all technical the ticket-writing is much of the enforcing he does … but good for them for quitting

  13. I would have rather the recordings were sent to the Sheriff’s Office or TBI for a criminal investigation, but at least a stand was taken.

    1. Nah, I think giving them to the press is the right move. Interested enforcement agencies can still get access to them easily, but this way it’s harder for any of the mayor’s friends at the Sheriff’s department to bury this quietly.

      1. Secret recordings are probably not admissable as evidence, so the media pressure on the elected officials is the way to go. But does not look like it worked. Need some tar and feathers. Tho if they’re making money off of speed traps/non residents, some locals may approve of the practice.

  14. The recently resigned cop should have charged the mayor and his henchman for their violation of Tennessee law in demanding quotas.

    Then start a recall campaign for the twisted mayor.

    Then have the pro-tem mayor rehire all the cops who quit. Since they have proven not only their integrity but their determination serve the people of their town, they’d be the best town coppers anyone could ask for.

    Glad SOMEONE SOMEWHERE has some spine AND integrity.
    This should be happening natiowide, wherever there are dirty coppers.

    1. I don’t think he can arrest them for it. Although it’s against the law to set quotas, there doesn’t seem to be a penalty specified in that law, and the prohibition is on “a political subdivision or any agency of this state” setting quotas, and an individual is not a political subdivision or agency.

  15. Oh my! If DC did this, their unemployment rate would jump back above 11%.

  16. Wow, I’ll totally do it. I can easily get 210 citations a month.

    All I have to do is follow those two around and nail them on everything they do.

  17. Ha!

    “Law enforcement is not about tickets. It’s about trying to cut down on crime.”

    Got bad news for that guy. I know way to many 911 operators and other people who see the game.

    Thats the 2nd most important function for local police. Solving major crimes (murder, armed robbery, etc) are still more important.

    However; if an officer doesn’t cut his share of high value tickets, his but rides a desk.

  18. One city down, millions more to do.

  19. So stupid. Instead of the code banning this practice, all it does is make it illegal to punish a cop for not going along with it.

  20. Must be a 96.12% White majority town.

    If it were a Black majority town the ruling Oligarchy’s corrupt and murderous security forces would be lining up to issue tickets.

    1. If it were a Black majority town, there’d be so much actual crime to deal with that this wouldn’t even be an issue.

  21. “…and Vice Mayor McCaw Johnson…”

    Vice Mayor? In a town of 2,000? I think I found one place for them to cut “city” payroll.

  22. I dunno about this. I figure, for sure the cops have some other angle. For starters, I bet they wanted a cut of the fines. Maybe the ticket policy was complicating their asset forfeiture plans. Maybe a lot of the locals pack heat, making it a risky venture. Or maybe nobody was giving them free donuts anymore.

  23. So, these goatfuckers are on tape admitting that they know it’s illegal to use traffic enforcement for backdoor taxation. Who’s the federal prosecutor that has jurisdiction?

    -jcr

  24. Government as predator. And they wonder why trust in government wanes.

  25. Someone call Boss Hogg and Sheriff Roscoe P. Coltrane. The town has a job for them.

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