ONLY ON FOX: Police Admit Targeting Homeless to Get Arrest Numbers Up
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By Sabrina Hall
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Metro police officers tell us they feel pressure to arrest homeless people since they are easy targets to meet what officers call an "arrest quota".
The police department insists it doesn't have arrest quotas but officers tell us - they get in trouble if they don't bring in the numbers
Metro police officers tell us they can lose their patrol car, the zone they patrol and even their vacation days if they don't lock people up.
"What we're looking for is performance," said Central Precinct Commander Jason Reinbnold.
Commander Reinbold is defending the email FOX 17 obtained from an officer.
In it, a lieutenant asks officers to arrest at least 2 people week and make at least 11 traffic stops. Officers say the email shows the pressure they face to make arrests.
Several officers tell us they target homeless people to meet those numbers.
Police have arrested the chronically homeless Darryl Linticum 143 times and Robert Brown 300 times.
"The reason why we arresting for public intoxication and trespassing is because it's against the law," said Reinbold.
Commander Reinbold says arresting homeless people is for their own good, and not about numbers, "There's an increase propensity to becoming a victim of a crime if you're homeless. Sometimes (arrest) is necessary to ensure the safety of that individual."
But one officer tells FOX 17, "I'd rather be ready to catch an actual criminal than to get a for sure body by bringing in a homeless guy for public intoxication or trespassing".
"Let's pick on that guy. He's homeless. He's drunk. Get them off the street, clean up the garbage," said Dale Dean who is homeless. "If he's not bothering nobody leave him alone!"
Officers tell us they often want to leave them alone but feel like they can't.
"They said they would rather be fighting real crimes and not be worried about getting their numbers in," said Reporter Sabrina Hall.
"That is real crime!" said Commander Reinhold. "We have not had a homicide downtown this year. I haven't had a commercial robbery downtown this year to date.
The commander says officers are not just judged by the number of people they bring to jail, other factors, like being helpful to the public, also come into play.