On November 18, Attorney General Eric Schmitt filed a lawsuit against the City of Moscow Mills. The lawsuit stipulates that the city and the Chief of Police, Terry Foster, allegedly have enforced a ticket quota for officers within the department.
The lawsuit also alleges that Chief Foster terminated an officer who raised concerns about the ticket quota and the legality surrounding ticket quotas.
A whistleblower familiar with the law enforcement agency’s internal operations submitted credible information to the Office of the Missouri Attorney General in 2021.
The information included that the City of Moscow Mills and the Moscow Mills Police Department created a “traffic enforcement officer” position back in 2013. This position originally started as a volunteer position, and then would become a part-time position. The salary of the position would be allegedly paid for with ticket citation revenue.
Chief Foster allegedly gave instructions to the traffic enforcement officer to issue at least ten citations per day, with other officers allegedly instructed to issue a minimum of five citations per month.
The citation goal of the traffic enforcement officer was to allegedly write 160 citations per month to secure $160,000 in court citation revenue per year. A line item of $160,000 was included in the City of Moscow Mills Missouri 2021 Budget for “Court Fine Revenue”.
Per the lawsuit, Chief Foster has allegedly stated, “warnings don’t help us” when it comes to issuing citations over giving warnings for traffic violations.
When the whistleblower approached Mayor Patrick Flannigan to address ticket quota concerns, Chief Foster allegedly met with the Mayor and stated, “one way or another [the officer] is [explicative] gone”.
Approximately two weeks later, Chief Foster terminated the officer’s employment, according to the lawsuit.
According to sources familiar to the story, the City of Moscow Mills is planning on having a closed session to discuss the matter this week.
Chief Foster has been with the department for 14 years.
"The future of the Moscow Mills Police Department is bright with current and future projects in various stages of development or planning. During these difficult economic times we constantly evaluate our business model so we can take the best practice approaches in the response to calls for service, crime prevention and quality of life issues facing our residents," Chief Foster wrote in a general address to the people on the Moscow Mills' website.
The lawsuit can be found here: