Cops File Whistleblower Suit Against Township, Police Chief For Illegal Quotas

Lawrence Township police officers alleged the chief and his brothers administered an illegal ticket quota operation.

Lawrence Township, NJ – A group of law enforcement officers has blown the whistle on Lawrence Township and its police chief, accusing them of enforcing illegal ticket quotas as a means of generating revenue for the municipality.

The lawsuit was filed Monday in Mercer County Superior Court and it claimed that when Lawrence Township’s revenue was down, police administrators ordered officers to write tickets and impound cars “every time they are eligible and without discretion,” New Jersey Advance Media reported.

Lawrence Township police officers alleged in the lawsuit that they have been denied promotions, become the target of internal affairs investigations, were disciplined, and threatened with negative performance evaluations if they didn’t go along with Police Chief Brian Caloiaro’s illegal ticket quota, according to the Trentonian.

Chief Caloiaro and Lawrence Township are both named as defendants in the lawsuit brought on behalf of Police Business Association (PBA) Local 119, the union that represents the rank and file officers in the township’s police department.

Lawrence Township Police Lieutenant Joseph Amodio, Sergeant Scott Stein, Detective Andrew Lee, and Officers Marc Caponi, Andres Mejia and Hector Nieves are all named as plaintiffs in the lawsuit, according to New Jersey Advance Media.

The lawsuit claimed that in March, Chief Caloiaro and his brothers, Lieutenant Joseph Caloiaro and Sergeant Scott Caloiaro, told officers to stop being lenient about traffic citations.

“The advisement campaign is over. No more catch and release, revenue needs to go up,” Lt. Caloiaro said, according to the lawsuit.

The lawsuit alleged that regardless of whether it was a criminal or motor vehicle offense, officers were supposed to have cars impounded and taken to the municipal lot, New Jersey Advance Media reported.

“Lawrence Township developed a systematic way to use motor vehicle enforcement to generate revenue. The system is intricate and places a substantial financial burden on anybody [who] commits a motor vehicle offense in Lawrence Township,” the lawsuit claimed.

According to the lawsuit, motorists have to pay a $300 non-refundable fee to retrieve their vehicle, even if they’re never convicted of the charges, New Jersey Advance Media reported.

The Lawrence Township PD only accepts cash or money orders so most people have to use the ATM in their lobby.

However, the lobby only dispenses a maximum of $200 at a time.

Meaning, at least two withdrawals – with their associated fees – are required to bail out a single vehicle, according to New Jersey Advance Media.

The lawsuit claimed that all of the ATM fees go to Lawrence Township.

“Therefore, upon the issuance of a ticket, regardless of the guilt of a motorist, he/she is already required to pay the township close to $475 between impound fees and towing costs just to get his/her car back. This is prior to a motorist being found guilty of an offense,” the lawsuit said.

“Defendants have systematically developed a system to siphon as much money as possible from motorists by demanding cars be impounded by officers which costs a motorist over $300 [which cannot be appealed to the municipal court judge] more than the motor vehicle ticket,” the complaint read, according to the Trentonian.

The lawsuit said that when officers complained about the ticket quotas and incessant impounding of vehicles for citable offenses, they were retaliated against, New Jersey Advance Media reported.

Officers made the Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office aware of the ticket quota problem, but the lawsuit said nothing was done about it.

In fact, one prosecutor was captured on bodycam video saying Lt. Amodio was going to need “a lot of beef and beers” as fundraisers, New Jersey Advance Media reported.

“This was implying that the prosecutor’s office or the defendant were going to terminate [Lt. Amodio],” the suit alleged.

The lawsuit complained about civil rights violations, a hostile work environment, and asked the court to order the Lawrence Township to cease using the municipal court system as an improper revenue generator, New Jersey Advance Media reported.

New Jersey law says police departments "shall not establish any quota for arrests or citations" and shall not "use the number of arrests or citations issued by a law enforcement officer as the sole criterion for promotion, demotion, dismissal, or the earning of any benefit provided by the department or force,” according to The Trentonian.

Comments (14)
No. 1-9
JBo
JBo

Disgusting activities by the town and PD and the PD sounds like a family business. I hope the plaintiffs prevail big time.

3 Replies

Janken
Janken

Must be DEMOCRATS

Jim H. - Virginia US
Jim H. - Virginia US

Kind of sounds like the old NJ mafia shakedowns.

Great to hear that ticket quotas are outlawed by legislation in NJ. It should be the case everywhere.

JBo
JBo

Exactly. Follow the money.

Just-My-Thoughts
Just-My-Thoughts

And we wonder why police are given a bad name. Shame on them and I hope they and whoever else in the city responsible for this are canned, plain and simple. They should be ashamed of themselves. They should also go back a few yrs and repay those who were swindled out of money.

Vodkabreakfast
Vodkabreakfast

This type of ransom taxation is nothing short of racketeering. If this is true, the offenders should be made to eat the tickets they wrote, and repay every last red cent they dishonesty misappropriated. The image of police does not need this kind of underhanded vandalism. It spits on the graves of those who die honourably in service.

186
186

Just a little nepotism going on here. Wondering if the Mayor is also related to them

walkintall
walkintall

Looks like they thought "Nothing But Trouble" (the 1991 comedy) was a fargin' documentary.

Donnyd668
Donnyd668

Thats what happens in small towns.. look brother... brother .. brother all in rank....should be county police.. get rid of most chiefs and save town money... how about that to generate money....

Einsteinsdaddy
Einsteinsdaddy

Enough with the SS uniforms guys. I know it's tradition but they don't make you relatable. They make you Look Like you're invading Poland. (yes I stole that!)

Crybabies
Crybabies

I’m from Hamilton Township, which is directly next to Lawrence Township. I know these plaintiffs in the lawsuit and I also know that this isn’t the first lawsuit that the vast majority have filed against the township. Google their names with lawsuit 2012 next to it. You’ll see. I’m also hearing from a few of their guys that this is totally retaliatory because these guys demanded that the LT. plaintiff become captain back in 2017 but instead this township manager named their current chief! Fast forward two years later and they are now filing this frivolous lawsuit against the chief. Furthermore, I also hear that this lawsuit is retaliatory because their former Chief was up to no good and was forced to leave. Then, his son, who was a police officer on Lawrence Township, did something even worse and was dismissed from the department. Hey Sandy, if you really back the blue, do some investigative reporting and check for yourself. I’d like to see a follow up article about this! If not, you’re just buying into the propaganda that these six officers are putting out there because they are totally untruthful.