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D.C. Transit Cops Had a Competition for Arrests. The Prize Was a $20 Movie Gift Card.

A group of transit cops in D.C. thought it was cool to hold a “friendly competition” to see who could rack up the most arrests and tickets in a month, all for points and prizes. And it might have passed without notice — except for the recent arrest of a 13-year-old boy. The contest, meant…

D.C. Transit Cops Had a Competition for Arrests. The Prize Was a $20 Movie Gift Card.

A group of transit cops in D.C. thought it was cool to hold a “friendly competition” to see who could rack up the most arrests and tickets in a month, all for points and prizes.

And it might have passed without notice — except for the recent arrest of a 13-year-old boy.

The contest, meant to incentivize more engagement with the community, was green-lit last July by a supervisor overseeing officers assigned to the northeastern neighborhood of Fort Totten. The game lasted about a month, according to the Washington Post, but it recently came to light after a video of Metro Police arresting a 13-year-old boy went viral on social media this week.

The competition was point-based: Each arrest made that month was worth 20 points, four points were given for every citation, three points for filing a report, two points for submitting a contact card, and one point for working a police pop-up event; turning in three bus contact sheets; and handing out 10 tickets. A winner would be announced weekly.

The reward for the week’s top point-getter? A $20 gift card to the movies.

“Good luck, all. May the odds be forever in your favor,” an email explaining the rules said, referencing “The Hunger Games.” The email also included a picture of a vitamin bottle labeled “One-a-day,” and featured individual pills labeled with the enforcement actions that would earn each cops points.

The competition was eventually shut down by commanding officers when it was discovered. A Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority spokesperson told the Washington Post that they condemn the competition.

“This was something initiated at the local level, by the supervisor in charge of day-shift officers at District 1 in Fort Totten, without the knowledge or approval of Metro Transit Police Department command staff,” the spokesman said. “MTPD does not condone the use of competitions with regard to productivity.”

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Local council members Charles Allen and Robert White saidthey first learned about the competition as early as last November when an anonymous source within the department tipped them off. The councilmen promptly sent a letter to Metro Police Chief Ronald Pavlik to confirm if the game was indeed real but didn’t receive a response until the Washington Post began looking into the matter.

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