When they get pulled over, lots of people in Bryan and College Station feel that they are nothing more than numbers designed to fill a quota that police officers have to catch a certain number of speeders, say, or to hit a certain number of DUI arrests.

However, such quotas are illegal, so that impression is a popular urban myth. Or is it?

A Baltimore-area woman recently had her DUI charge thrown out by a judge after a police department memo was leaked that seemed to indicate the police department had instituted a quota meant to ensure it could keep a federal grant.

The 22-year-old woman whose case is an issue here was pulled over in April 2011 after an officer observed her going 38 mph in a 25 mph zone. The officer then arrested the woman on suspicion of DUI after a Breathalyzer test registered her blood-alcohol content at 0.17.

The officer in this case was working overtime and the extra cost of her pay was being funded by a federal grant. Recently, a memo that said each officer had to cite between two and four motorists each hour in order to keep the grant was released. The judge in the woman's case said it intimated a quota, which is illegal, and so she threw out the woman's DUI charges. Two other similar cases are pending before the same judge.

Now, it is very important that we all respect what police officers do. They deserve our cooperation and obedience as long as they themselves are on the right side of the law. This story should not be read to imply that officers in Bryan or College Station are doing anything wrong. Rather, it should show that we all have to follow rules and laws, and in this case "all" includes police officers.

Source: The Baltimore Sun, "Judge throws out DUI case, saying police had quotas," Peter Hermann, Jan. 5, 2012