MADISON, Wis. — The union representing Wisconsin’s State Patrol troopers sued the State Patrol and its superintendent on Monday, alleging that an experimental policy for evaluating trooper performance is illegal and unfair to those who work during overnight shifts or during hazardous weather.
The Wisconsin Law Enforcement Association is asking that a judge declare the policy illegal and seeks an injunction barring its use, and seeks to remove prior negative performance reviews based on its use, according to the lawsuit, filed in Dane County Circuit Court.
The lawsuit names the State Patrol and its superintendent, Stephen Fitzgerald, as defendants.
Patty Mayers, spokeswoman for the state Department of Transportation, of which the State Patrol is a division, said DOT officials had not yet been served with the suit and had not reviewed the allegations.
The lawsuit states that in 1999, a state law barred state agencies from requiring quotas for enforcement of traffic laws.
In 2012, the State Patrol created a new form for evaluating trooper performance on an experimental basis in the State Patrol’s Southwest Region, which is bound on the north by La Crosse, Monroe, Juneau and Adams counties and the east by Dodge, Jefferson and Rock counties. It includes Dane County.
The form describes the quotas that troopers must meet as one traffic stop per hour of patrol; one citation per 1.8 hours of patrol; and one warning per 0.8 hours of patrol.
“The static quotas affect state troopers in a disparate manner depending on work shift, work location, assignment to interstates or state highways, the number of troopers on duty, weather conditions and traffic volume,” the lawsuit states.
Troopers who work at night are more affected, the lawsuit states, because of lower traffic volumes and less support during hazardous weather.
The lawsuit states that troopers who don’t meet quotas face consequences that include the denial of training opportunities and being assigned less-desirable vehicles and older equipment.