Both sides in the growing Auburn Police Department controversy are presenting their case.
The former Chief denies the allegations made by a former Auburn Police Officer claiming the department enforced a quota policy. The fired officer is now showing more evidence to support his claims.
Former Auburn Police Chief Tommy Dawson firmly denies the claims that officers were required to meet a quota. "We've never had a quota policy, ever." Dawson stepped down as Police Chief July 1 after being diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease.
Former Auburn Police Officer Justin Hanners say blowing the whistle on the policy got him fired. Another claim former Chief Dawson denies. "Mr. Hanners knows why he was terminated, I think it'd be best if you ask him why he was terminated."
We did ask Hanners that question. "It all comes down to the recording," Hanners said sharing with WSFA 12 News an audio recording of his supervisor, Sgt. Trey Neal, spelling out the rules.
the recording says, "Officers will have 100 contacts per month, minimum, 40 of those may be warning for traffic, the other 60 will be divided between traffic citations, non-traffic citations, field interviews, and custodial arrests."
And Hanners showed evidence where he was written up for not meeting those demands. "In the write up he specifically says I only had 67 contacts and at this date and time I told him he had to have 100 and he violated an order."
Dawson responds, "When I was made aware of the numbers being mentioned, that was dealt with accordingly, and it's in the past, and I'm not going to discuss Sgt. Neal and what went on with that."
But Chief Dawson doesn't deny that writing tickets was a top priority for officers under his leadership. In fact, he feels strongly about it. "We don't pull folks over just to get our own kicks, we pull folks over to save lives. Call a parent and hear the reaction when you tell them their child's not coming home, and it goes through your mind if 'I had worked a little harder, done a little more, I might could've prevented this'."
As for Hanner's dismissal from the department, it's written out pretty clearly - the trust was just too far gone to get back.
"Given the tight knit nature of any public safety force, who must be able to trust and depend on each other in dire situations, the hearing officer finds that the violation of city policies in this instance is serious enough to warrant a deviation from the proposed progressive disciplinary action guidelines."
Dawson says the City of Auburn does an annual citizen survey that repeatedly finds a demand for more traffic enforcement from the police.
Current Police Chief Paul Register, who has served on the Auburn police force for the last 25 years, also says Auburn PD has never had a quota policy, and he sees no benefit - financially or to the citizens - to implementing one.
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