Police officer fired after not writing enough traffic tickets

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Officer Daniel Capps (Facebook, WGCL-TV) Officer Daniel Capps (Facebook, WGCL-TV)

(Meredith) -- A Georgia police officer said he was fired after he did not write enough tickets for traffic violations, including a minor crash where he only issued a warning. 

Daniel Capps, 40, served as an officer with the Alpharetta Police Department for about nine years.

He was recently dispatched to an accident where a driver rear-ended another vehicle at a low speed. No one was injured and both cars only had minor damage. One of drivers said the officer acknowledged “it was a minor fender-bender and there was no need to issue a ticket.”

The officer's decision led to him losing his job, WGCL reports.  

Capps told the news station he doesn't think it's a police officer's job to make drivers miserable. It should also be noted that the officer does not personally know either driver from the accident.

 "Someone's already needing to pay the insurance. It's a hassle. There's no need to have a ticket on top of that," he said. 

According to a department memo, officers are supposed to charge drivers with a criminal misdemeanor anytime two cars bump into each other within city limits. This applies to car accidents where the damage is minor and there are no injuries.

Despite the city's strong stance on issuing traffic penalities, Capps said he "gave a lot of warnings" while on-duty.

"If someone needed a ticket, they would get one," he said. "If they were courteous and understood what they did wrong, I wouldn't write a citation. Same thing with accidents."

In a statement, assistant city manager James Drinkard said the officer's firing was due to "a pattern" of unacceptable behavior. 

“While the decision to terminate employment was based, in part, on the former employee’s decision to ignore lawful departmental policy and refuse to properly cite at-fault drivers who caused traffic crashes that resulted in property damage, that behavior was part of a pattern of performance and poor decision making that was simply not acceptable. 

Capps' disciplinary record from the past nine years includes violating the dress code and leaving his gun unattended on the range during training. The department said he also arrested a teen for shoplifting but released her to her parents, instead of taking her to jail.

After being reprimanded for not writing enough tickets in January, Capps asked other officers if they thought their lieutenant's policy was unfair. According to official documents, the lieutenant considered it an attempt to undermine his authority and Capps was later suspended before eventually being fired.


Information from WGCL-TV contributed to this report.

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