In 1994, the Mollen Commission issued a report that concluded that police in New York City came up with various arrest strategies in order to increase their overtime pay. The strategies included questionable arrests, multiple arrests, and the involvement of additional officers so that more could earn overtime.
How soon they forget. Now pending in federal district court in Brooklyn is a civil rights suit by a defendant who alleges that he was arrested by New York City police officers solely for the purpose of increasing their income and not on the basis of a crime. For the arrest of Mr. Hector Cordero and others, the suit alleges that the officers pulled in $1,400 in extra pay. The suit promises to result in the exposure of the conduct of police officers in making arrests. Some of the allegations in the suit are that officers made up false information to justify the arrests. The charges against Mr. Cordero were dropped five months after his arrest. New York City says the officers had probable cause. The trial promises to offer insights into the old and now repeated “collars for dollars.” Be careful how you pay and what you reward — perverse incentives are dangerous.