If you have heard that Maryland State Police troopers have DUI arrest quotas, you heard correctly. Each year, troopers who report the most DUI arrests get awards recognizing their efforts. In addition, the State Police Impaired Driving Effort (SPIDRE), an elite unit within the department, awards its members who achieved at least 30 DUI arrests in a year.
Incentivizing arrests like this can lead to abuses. Recently, a trooper pleaded guilty to criminal charges related to inventing made-up DUI arrests to pad his stats so that he could win honors he did not deserve.
Awards based on inflated statistics
In 2018, the trooper, a member of SPIDRE, reported arresting 30 people on suspicion of drinking and driving, which qualified him for an annual award. The next year, he reported a record 50 arrests. However, it later turned out that he had falsified six DUI tickets in those years. The people he claimed to have arrested did not exist, and no arrest occurred.
Four times, when these “defendants” failed to appear for their court dates, the judges issued bench warrants for their arrest. Troopers tried to serve those warrants in three cases by going to the addresses the accused trooper wrote down for the nonexistent defendants.
The trooper has pleaded guilty to perjury and misconduct. He is on unpaid suspension and will likely face further punishment from the department.
Could DUI arrest reward jeopardize the public’s rights?
His actions wasted the time and energy of his fellow troopers and the courts so that he could win awards. It is easy to imagine these awards motivating a trooper to make questionable traffic stops or arrest drivers without sufficient evidence of impairment.
Your rights matter. If you believe a state trooper or local police officer violated your rights during a traffic stop or after your arrest, you should let your defense attorney know about it. They will investigate what happened, and if there is evidence of police misconduct, use it to fight to get the charges dismissed or reduced.