WASHINGTON - Metro Transit Police were recently caught in a contest – and not the kind that benefitted riders.
A supervisor held a competition last summer in which officers at the Fort Totten Station were awarded points for making arrests, writing tickets, and handing out citations.
Metro Transit Police Chief Ron Pavlik said on Thursday that he learned about the challenge last August when another officer brought it to his attention, and immediately shut it down.
Pavlik says the lieutenant who came up with the idea says she was hoping to use it as a motivation for her officers. He noted that corrective action was taken – but declined to go any further than that.
"I think the leader was trying to be very…thinking outside the box,” Pavlik said. “Leaders come in all shapes and sizes and come up with different ways to motivate employees to do work and I think that is what this manager was trying to do.”
A flyer lays out the rules and goals of the competition.
It begins with the words, “May the odds be forever in your favor.”
If goes on to say that the weekly winners would be rewarded with gas cards, lunch cards, Amazon cards, or Beat choices or mobile preferences.
Under the contest’s guidelines, each arrest was worth 20 points – with one point for every 10 parking tickets, four points for each citation and moving violation, and a variety of point for other routine jobs performed by the police at the station.
According to Chief Pavlik, there was no spike in reports, tickets, or citations at the station during the month of the competition. And he doesn’t think the challenge significantly altered the way policing was done there.
Pavlik also says the lieutenant who came up with the idea was trying to empower her officers to do work. He says that was wrong, but no one was targeted, and the numbers do not show a spike at the Fort Totten Station.