A former officer with the Riley County Police Department, who claims he was forced to resign for not fulfilling DUI arrest quotas, has filed a civil lawsuit in U.S. District Court against the RCPD and two county governing bodies, according to court documents obtained by KMAN.
The plaintiff, Derek Cid, a former officer with the department, alleges he was forced to resign due to a toxic work environment that led to deteriorating performance reviews after he voiced opposition to quotas placed on officers for traffic stops — specifically DUI stops.
David Copper, the lead attorney for the RCPD and associated defendants in the case, filed a motion to dismiss the case June 21, citing Cid’s failure to state a claim. It also referenced Cid’s performance of his duties as “‘below standards’ for failing to meet performance goals on arrests, and particularly DUI arrests.” The motion also acknowledged Cid’s complaints to supervisors concerning quotas — putting the term in quotes. After those complaints, the motion says Cid was placed on an improvement plan and elected to resign.
The complaint included the Board of Riley County Commissioners, the Riley County Law Board, RCPD Director Brad Schoen, Sgt. Brian London, Capt. Josh Kyle and Lt. Steve Boyda.
Cid, who was an officer for the RCPD from 2012-2016, according to court documents, is seeking $750,000.
Summons were issued on May 4 and returned by May 29. On June 1, the defendants filed for an extension of time to answer and the motion was granted by Magistrate Judge K. Gary Sebelius on June 5.
The case has been assigned to District Judge Daniel D. Crabtree.
Friday, Cid’s attorney, Theodore Lickteig of Lenexa, told KMAN they will be filing their response to the motion to dismiss within 21 days.
In Lickteig’s complaint, amended May 3, Cid is described as a decorated Army combat veteran who began his law enforcement career at the Miami-Dade Police Department upon discharge from the military in 2009, graduating at the top of his academy class and earning the highest academic achievement award. It added he joined the RCPD in January 2012 after family commitments brought him to the Kansas City area and that he was “highly recommended” by his previous supervisors at the Miami-Dade PD.
Cid alleges he was held in high regard at the RCPD and was recommended for consideration for the next open detective position during the Spring of 2015. Cid did acknowledge, however, that he did receive “shift level counseling and reprimand” after two incidents on Aug. 1, 2015, where video review showed Cid had turned off his siren just short of arriving at the scene of a disturbance, which he conceded was against regulations.
In September, Cid was assigned to the midnight shift and on Oct. 6, 2015. Cid says he received a shift-wide email from Sgt. Bortnick with each officer’s arrest statistics, warning the officers that although self-initiated stops and activity had gone up, they missed their DUI “goal” of 105 for two quarters in a row, and that officers would have to “buckle down” in order to meet the annual DUI arrest goal.
Cid alleges a few weeks later he had an “unusual” meeting with Sgts. London and Bortnick — his shift supervisors — where they informed him he was subject to a mandatory “Quota/Non-Quota” system in which he had to make at least two DUI arrests and issue fifteen parking tickets each month or he would receive an unsatisfactory rating.
Cid’s complaint says that he said nothing at the time, but was concerned because it meant if he could not fulfill his quotas, he would be faced with making improper stops or false arrests to avoid facing disciplinary action.
In early November 2015, Cid says he expressed his concerns to Bortnick that mandatory compliance with the quota system would likely force officers to make unsupported stops resulting departmental violations and Fourth Amendment issues. Cid says Bortnick disregarded the concerns and warned him to “just concentrate on meeting the numbers.”
It was after that exchange, Cid says, that his performance reviews began to tumble and that he was continuously harassed about his arrest numbers and quotas. He also alleges he was passed over for his annual merit raise and claims his evaluations were full of errors. Cid also claims he was able to prove through a review of the audit trails and arrest statistics in the RCPD database that his DUI arrest statistics reported in his annual evaluation by London were wrong and “artificially low.”
Later, Cid says Boyda and Sgt. Pat Tiede told him he needed to “lower his threshold” for probable cause stopping drivers to increase his probability of getting DUI arrests, and that DUI arrests were the only type that mattered because DUI statistics had to be presented to the Law Board and that low statistics made the department look bad.
Cid alleges he repeated his concerns saying he couldn’t just arrest a driver who was not going to test for a DUI violation and their response to him was, “Yes you can — just un-arrest them.”
Cid says he asked Capt. Kyle to assign him to a different supervisor, but was denied.
On July 18, 2016, Cid says London met with him to conduct an evaluation and commented, “What will it take to light a fire under your ass?!” referring to DUI arrests.
Cid says he was rated “below expectations” in use of force based on a June 19, 2016 brawl that he, along with Bortnick, responded to where Cid alleges that Bortnick falsely claimed he backed away from the fight on two different occasions and violated policy in not activating his body-work camera quickly enough. Cid says he asked for a copy of the policy he was told an email had been sent to supervisors. Cid says he asked to see the email but never received it.
The next day, Cid says he was informed he was the subject of an investigation initiated by Schoen, but states Bortnick admitted it was Kyle that had initiated it.
Cid says he feared he was about to be fired and submitted his resignation on July 28, 2016, mentioning his inability to comply with the quota system and subsequent treatment as a factor.
Cid says the RCPD accepted his resignation and that Boyda denied that any previous actions or discipline against him had anything to do with his complaints about the quota system.
Monday afternoon, RCPD Public Information Officer Hali Rowland told KMAN the department is unable to comment on pending litigation, but said its attorneys are aware of the lawsuit.