AUBURN, AL (WSFA) - A former Auburn Police Officer is making some serious claims. He says the Auburn Police Department enforced a quota system that required officers to write a certain number of tickets. He also says when he complained about it, he was fired.
"People pay taxes for police services so we can protect them and their property." Justin Hanners says it's not an officer's duty to look for reasons to write tickets. "When you set a quota, you make the officers lower their standards."
But that's just what Hanners says his supervisor required - to the tune of 100 a month. "Forty could be warnings, but the other 60 had to be traffic citations, arrests, non-traffic citations or field interviews." And he says he has the audio recordings to prove it.
Hanners first told his story to Reason.TV, which posted a video about it on YouTube Wednesday afternoon. That video has gone viral.
Hanners' evidence forced the Department to launch an investigation. But when it was closed without substantiating his claim, Hanners says he was fired for continuing to pursue it. "Not to speak is to speak, not to act is to act," he said.
WSFA 12 News did get a written response from the City of Auburn late Thursday afternoon saying, "There's more to the story than is being told. [Read full response here.]
City manager Charles Duggan went on to say, "We have investigated the accusations that have been made and have found them to be false. The City Attorney hired Bob Eddy (a former investigator at the Alabama Attorney General's office) to conduct an investigation.
"Mr. Eddy was given free rein to look at police records, interview officers and staff and take as long as needed to do a thorough investigation," Duggan explained. "Mr. Eddy conducted an almost 700 hour investigation, including exhaustive interviews with Auburn Police personnel and found no corruption or wrongdoing."
Even with a wife and 2 kids at home, and no job now, Hanners says he'd do it all again. "God is my provision not the City of Auburn, he's gonna take care of us and we're not gonna go hungry."