By on March 31, 2012

Be careful if you take I84, one of Connecticut’s main drags. You could turn into collateral damage of a war between feuding State Police troops. There might be a pizza prize on your head.

A memo, written by the commander of Troop I in Bethany, created an uproar in Connecticut and beyond. Lt. Anthony Schirillo III, Troop I’s commander, issued an “all hands on deck” email for Friday, says the Connecticut Post. “We have to issue 60 infractions/misdemeanors each shift for a total of 180 infractions, in order to outperform Troop F and Troop G,”  Schirillo wrote.

Schirillo told his men that Troop F had written 301 tickets, Troop G had outdone them with 345 tickets:

“We can do better. I am asking that everyone, myself included, contribute to this effort. Based on the number of on-duty personnel, 60 infractions a shift would proportionately put us above both troops. Note, if we happen to issue 350 tickets in one day that would be stellar.”

Putting even more fire under his men, Schirillo offered, in a follow-up email, pizza to the trooper writing the most tickets.

Matthew Andrews, president of the Connecticut State Police Union, said state law prohibits quotas:

“Our members won’t comply with an illegal order or a ticket quota and will always use discretion as allowed by our department policy and the law. This wasn’t just specifically Troop I. It’s going on around the state that there’s an increased desire to issue more tickets and we don’t think it’s proper. “

Lt. J. Paul Vance, spokesman for the state’s Division of State Police, played down the incident, saying that Schirillo was merely cheerleading:

“There’s no way there were any required quotas. Lt. Schirillo was saying, `Let’s go and work and give a little bit more, work a little bit harder, there are speeders out there.’ It was motivational and maybe he needed a little polish on it.”

Schirillo lists the FBI National Academy and the University of Connecticut as places where he received education. He is Chairman of the Homeland Security Region 1 Steering Committee and the Emergency Management Director of the Town of Stratford. He seems to be polished enough.




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28 Comments on “Speed, And The Cop Might Get A Free Pizza...”

  • avatar

    When I started reading the memo I thought sure it was going to be from Ohio.

    Yet another state where cruise control is your friend…

  • avatar

    Typical government agency deviation from it’s original mission.

    Original mission: Protect and Serve

    Transformational mission: Revenue and Empire building….
    More employees, more overtime, more equipment, more buildings, and more pensions.

    Homeland security is the poster child.

  • avatar

    Given the choice between the trust and respect of the policed and stealing a hundred bucks, Ben wins every time.

  • avatar

    “There’s no way there were any required quotas. Lt. Schirillo was saying, `Let’s go and work and give a little bit more….”

    I guess Mr. Vance didn’t read the memo.. Its intent was very clear.
    Give a little more what? Grief, surcharges? It’s dopes like this that
    make the good ones look bad.

    • 0 avatar

      What good ones?

      The other two Troops identified in Schirillo’s e-mail had already set the high bar of “achievement”. That is, even if not one single trooper in Schirillo’s Troop followed his merely motivational, definitely non-quota email, two thirds of the identified Troopers already had. Andrews said, “It’s going on around the State”. Would anyone here seriously assert that Connecticut is the only State where this kind of malarky is going on?

      When judges do this garbage, it’s called “abuse of discretion”.
      When the DA or the State’s Attorney does it, it’s called “prosecutorial misconduct”.
      When cops do it, it’s called “business as usual”.

  • avatar

    He should be terminated for puting it writing.

  • avatar

    F Troop indeed. And Larry Storch wept.

  • avatar

    There’s a fine line between “quotas” and “performance standards”. The lieutenant probably kept himself on the side of the latter by offering an incentive for doing the work, rather than a punishment for not doing it, and by keeping the incentive modest.

    (And if the pizza was from a place like Dominos, then it wouldn’t be much of a motivator.)

    • 0 avatar

      So, would you have that same tolerant attitude if it was, let’s say, a manager at a bank who offered pizza to the collection agent who repossessed the highest number of cars and trucks? Or does that recognition of the need for fine lines and motivations only apply to government worker agents of the nanny state that you endorse?

      • 0 avatar

        “So, would you have that same tolerant attitude if it was, let’s say, a manager at a bank who offered pizza to the collection agent who repossessed the highest number of cars and trucks?”

        You really, really, really need to work on your reading skills. (One would have hoped that your driving quiz post would have gotten that point through to you.)

        I didn’t endorse the policy. What I said was that there is a fine line between a policy that is probably forbidden (a “quota”) and a policy that is likely permissible (a “performance standard”).

        You need to learn to read what is written, instead of constantly filling in the blanks with your opinions. Otherwise, you’re just going to remain a verbose hack.

    • 0 avatar

      I didn’t see one word about a public safety issue, a specific complaint, or anything to suggest other than write x number of tickets because I know you can.
      Anyone getting a ticket from this crew of his has a pretty good defense position.
      There doesn’t seem to be much of a line at all.

      • 0 avatar

        “There doesn’t seem to be much of a line at all.”

        Hence, my comment about the line being a fine one.

        “I didn’t see one word about a public safety issue, a specific complaint, or anything to suggest other than write x number of tickets because I know you can.”

        To be fair, given the traffic counts, it should be quite easy for them to find legitimate violators. They would have to ticket only a modest fraction of the worst of them in order to hit their numbers.

        That being said, I would prefer that highway patrols see their primary role as keeping traffic moving smoothly and safely, rather than handing out penalties at every opportunity. But I don’t make the policy.

        “Anyone getting a ticket from this crew of his has a pretty good defense position.”

        That’s a good idea, assuming that your goal is to piss off a judge. Otherwise, it would be preferable to try a different approach.

      • 0 avatar

        “That’s a good idea, assuming that your goal is to piss off a judge. Otherwise, it would be preferable to try a different approach.”
        Why do you assume judges are always on the cop’s side?

      • 0 avatar

        “Why do you assume judges are always on the cop’s side?”

        The judge probably knows the cop. The judge probably doesn’t know you, and if he does, then it probably isn’t for a good reason. So yes, you should always assume that you are at a disadvantage in traffic court, unless proven otherwise.

        In any case, playing the “you singled me out” card is almost sure to annoy the judge. For one, it isn’t a legally valid argument. For another, you won’t have any facts to be able to prove it.

        Worst of all, claiming that you’re a victim of your own right foot just makes you look like whiny and petulant, and unable to take personal responsibility for your actions. And if you’re whiny and petulant and unable to take personal responsibility for your actions, then the judge may be inclined to believe that you probably deserve some extra punishment for being whiny and petulant, with more tacked on for being annoying. Not a smart move.

        That section of I-84 has about 100,000 vehicles on it per day. If you assume that even 5% of those vehicles were grossly exceeding the limit or committing some other violation, then that’s 5,000 potential legitimate violators per day to be cited there. (And that doesn’t include all of the other roads on their beat.) If you’re one of the 4,650 who got away with it on that particular day, then that would prove that you got lucky, not that the 350 other guys also earned themselves a get-out-of-jail free card or the right to claim victimhood.

  • avatar

    The amount of respect I have for the law enforcement community continues to drop on a daily basis because of stuff like this.

  • avatar

    I have lived in Connecticut my whole life, and I have never found speed enforcement particularly onerous. At different times in my life I have commuted on all the major highways in CT, and have rarely come across speed traps. The legislature is working on legalizing red light cameras, so that should be fun.

    • 0 avatar

      seems like they are a little behind the curve w the red light camera thing.

      • 0 avatar

        Yes, we have had ample opportunity to see the problems with these cameras, yet are determined to go ahead anyway. With a democratic governor and legislature, there’s really no stopping it. Even republican mayors are hiding from the issue – they want the money but can’t say so publicly.

      • 0 avatar

        dwford: On Long Island NY, it does not matter what party is in control. They want the revenue and have even made public statements about badly needing the revenue. No, this is not a blue/red thing. It’s a green $$$$ thing pure and simple. Red light $cameras should be put on a public ballot. The politicians only see the money. Until then, if the light turns yellow pounce on the brakes. Don’t worry about causing an accident. It’s about money.

  • avatar

    When ever I travel into or through Connecticut I always make sure that I am in the 5 -7 over range, especially on 84. The upper part between Hartford and the Massachusetts line is an area where you are almost guaranteed to see some sort of speed enforcement happening.

  • avatar

    That’s because there’s a state police barracks towards the MA end of 84, in an area of the state where there is precious little to do. For many years, the highest per-capita traffic infraction rate has been awarded to the Town of Union – backing right up to the Mass state line – since there are only a thousand people in town, and two exits off of I-84 with multiple hiding areas for state police. In contrast, my daily commute up I-91 (from Berlin/Cromwell to Holyoke, MA) hardly ever has any speed traps on the Connecticut portion (of more than thirty miles) but two or more in Massachusetts (~15 miles).

  • avatar

    On my daily 100-mile R/T commute, I have no issues. I set the cruise between 61-64 mph and enjoy the drive as much as I can, speeding up when necessary to avoid lane blockages when someone is going 1 mph faster than I and also is using cruise and cars are piling up behind him, I speed up to allow the backup to clear and let the clueless person back in the curb lane where he or she belongs, like me.

    In other words, I don’t speed, as a rule. Pushing things a bit at times – yes, but carefully, when on road trips.

    The whole ticket thing is nothing more than a money grab by local governments and insurance companies to line their pockets in the name of so-called “safety” – yeah, right.

  • avatar

    And we wonder why kids’ interest in car ownership is falling? There are no speeding tickets on Facebook.

  • avatar

    I live in Ct have most of my life (spent a few years in eastern maine) The state police are usually pretty fair around here not nearly as bad as they are in Jersey and Ohio base on my experience. As mentioned above Vernon has a speed trap on 84 (right after my exit 63 actually) The only other spot in the state Ive found to have a consistent speed trap is rt2 south entering Colchester. The local cops can be another matter entirely (I’m talking to you Windsor). For you out of staters the front line troopers have been in bitter contract disputes of late and my guess is this will become a bigger issue if the not taken care of right away. The state and the union are battling over a law that sets a minimum number of troopers based on population. Our current gov laid off a few bringing the number under the min. After some posturing they were hired back.

  • avatar

    Literally thousands of people owe their lives to this patron saint of the highways.

    I’m sure that he won’t be fired, reprimanded, or stop doing these idiotic quota stunts.

    And when he’s older and fatter, they’ll be a nice union pension for him to retire on.

    • 0 avatar

      How nice? The news likes to play up the (very) few remaining Tier 1 people but the vast majority will never see those overly generous pensions. A quick search shows that NYC retirees today have an average pension of $38K. A far cry from those six figure stories the news likes.

      • 0 avatar

        Bull chit.

        The “average” PFRS payment is $38K – actually $39,808 in 2010 and higher for 2011 but not published yet – because that includes employees who retired decades ago at lower rates, reduced benefits for surviving spouses, former employees who worked a partial career under PFRS, and early disability payments.

        The average PFRS pension for all members who retired in 2011 is $68,162.

        The average PFRS pension for members retired in 2011 with 35 years in the system is $97,793.

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