It is infinitely better to have a few good men than many indifferent ones.
-GEORGE WASHINGTON, letter to James McHenry, Aug. 10, 1798
Most of us are familiar with quality assurance and quality standards. Whether it is taking the steps to limit defective parts in a manufacturing plant or creating a better user experience for our customers and clients, there is a commitment to quality all around us. Quality is the hallmark of any successful organization. For example, at The McShane Firm, our Pennsylvania DUI Attorneys are committed to being the most prepared, the most knowledgeable, and the most professional defense lawyers in PA. We go that extra mile to ensure our clients are getting our best effort, every time.
Many people who go through regular performance reviews will tell you that quality plays a big part in how their job performance is evaluated. Take for example, a factory manager in ACME Widgets who will not only be evaluated on how many widgets his factory produced but also on the percentage of defective parts. A manager who is producing a large number of defective parts is considered wasteful and is promptly fired.
There is a commitment to quality everywhere…except for the police.
Police officers are evaluated on arrests numbers and receive rewards from MADD and other organizations based on arrest numbers- sheer, unadulterated volume. An officer who has made 1,000 DUI arrests is superior to one who has made 500, regardless of how many of those arrests actually end up being convicted. Whenever, the State toots its own horn in the media, it points to increasing arrest numbers without mentioning the percentage of these who were actually convicted. (See my post on how to lie with statistics.) Many of these “high volume” DUI officers are also producing a high number of false arrests and being wasteful, just like the now unemployed factory manager. The difference here is that those who are falsely arrested are real people, not widgets, who have to spend time and money to clear their name. Many of them end up getting falsely convicted of a DUI because of bad forensics, improper legal advice and sweet talking professional witnesses (aka police officers). They receive a lifetime sentence of humiliation and prejudice all for bumping in to an “officer on a mission”.
Despite the fact that these innocent people will have to face jail time, expensive fines and license suspension for a crime they did not commit, the arresting police officer is very rarely reprimanded. In fact, this type of behavior is encouraged as part of the “War on DUI”.
Get lots of arrests, regardless of quality and still be called a hero.
Is this what we want as a society?