NYPD Still Won’t Ticket Their Own

With the release of Transportation Alternatives’ new report on parking placard abuse and the introduction of City Council Member Daniel Garodnick’s bill to add scannable bar codes to official placards, the push is on again to curb the flagrant exploitation of parking privileges. Despite the substantial reduction in official placards by the Bloomberg administration in 2008, vehicles sporting both official and fake placards continue to illegally obstruct sidewalks and clog streets wherever government employees work in large numbers.

Photo: Noah Kazis

It’s an open secret that agents won’t ticket placarded vehicles, or any vehicle with a placard-like thing on the dash, out of fear of reprisal from higher up. As this placard abuse story indicates, in some cases the agents may just be following orders. Streetsblog was copied on this message sent to NYPD’s Internal Affairs Bureau and the Manhattan DA’s office, from a reader who asked to remain anonymous:

[Yesterday] afternoon around 2:00, I saw Traffic Enforcement Agent Faruque walking down Gramercy Park North checking for Munimeter tickets on the dashboard of parked vehicles. When he passed by a vehicle with no proof of payment, which also had an expired NYPD Restricted placard, I asked why he did not write a summons. He insisted he was not able to write a summons because his supervisor had instructed him not to issue summonses to any vehicles with NYPD placards. I pointed out that the placard was clearly expired, and therefore could not be valid, but he insisted he could not write a summons, and stated that I would need to speak with his supervisor…

If a supervisor has ordered or otherwise directed TEAs to not write summonses for actual violations to vehicles with NYPD credentials, the matter should be properly investigated and prosecuted. I remind you that this organized effort to park without paying constitutes theft of services, and I find it absolutely shocking that this would continue in broad daylight with the attention already directed to the ticket fixing scandal. For us to have any faith in the NYPD, and a bearable quality of life in this city, it is important that police officers and those familiar to them are held equally accountable as everyone else under the law.

Please also be advised that I have written the Commissioner on more than one occasion about the many violations with vehicles using NYPD placards that persist in the area around Gramercy Park, the Academy, and the 13th Precinct. These also include parking at fire hydrants, at crosswalks, using reflective license plate covers, and dark-tinted windows. Despite my repeated pleas, the NYPD has made no apparent effort to address the highly visible illegal conditions created by its own officers in this area.

  • MR

    . . . and get off my lawn!

  • Reformer!

    Yeah, I guess it’s ok to break the law, if you know the right people.
    I guess it’s ok for the police to break the law.
    I guess it’s ok for commanding officers to issue unlawful commands.
    I guess a little stealing is ok, as long as it isn’t actually green bills.
    And I guess it’s also ok to punish people for their honesty.
    Those who intend to park legally, and get back to their cars a few minutes late, or misread the sometimes overly complicated and poorly placed parking regulations, get fined severly. Yet these guys who are making an extra effort to break additional laws to defraud all of us go entirely unpunished.

    Yeah. All good here.
    New York City and its heroes are perfect.
    Don’t change a thing.

  • Anonymous

    Roughly half of NYPD lives outside of NYC, and I’m sure a huge percentage of those who are city residents live on Staten Island or the outer fringes of Queens. This not only contributes to commuting by car, but the general Us vs. Them attitude that pervades their interactions with “Real New Yorkers” (defined as people who actually live in New York–zing). Unless they’re given a reason to care, bar codes aren’t going to do anything. I lived next to a precinct house in the village for years and witnessed their disdain for the local residents first hand. Worst. Neighbors. Ever. They would, as a rule, issue parking tickets to any non-cop who parked on the block legally, just to make a point that no placard=no parking–“get off our lawn.”

  • Hodges

    Do the police actually answer to the mayor or is Ray Kelly King for Life? Did they televise Ray’s coronation?

  • James

    If the Mayor’s Office and the DA’s Office want to take this seriously, I’m sure they can figure out a way to hire and authorize Parking Enforcement Agents that report directly to the Mayor’s Office or some other agency outside of the NYPD.

  • James

    If the Mayor’s Office and the DA’s Office want to take this seriously, I’m sure they can figure out a way to hire and authorize Parking Enforcement Agents that report directly to the Mayor’s Office or some other agency outside of the NYPD.

  • James

    If the Mayor’s Office and the DA’s Office want to take this seriously, I’m sure they can figure out a way to hire and authorize Parking Enforcement Agents that report directly to the Mayor’s Office or some other agency outside of the NYPD.

  • MR

    Considering all of the sturm and drang on this site over cyclists getting tickets for legitimate moving violations, the idea that they’d highlight someone who stalked a parking officer and wrote the Police Commissioner “on more than one occasion” about officers’ “reflective license plate covers, and dark-tinted windows” on their personal cars is just funny and weird. Mostly funny.

  • carma

    im not denying parking abuse. clearly there is a LOT of it. however, ticketing your own does absolutely nothing but create inter-agency sparring and LOTS of wasted time fighting amongst the mess.
    think of parking placards as a weed. and ticketing the offenders as ripping off tips of these weeds. guess what, unless you really attack the source, handing a bunch of tickets to these guys who likely will fight and win these tickets is just a waste of time.
    you literally have to RIP out the parking placards and not distribute them to begin with, not just ticket them. just like you do to the roots of a weed.

  • carma

    im not denying parking abuse. clearly there is a LOT of it. however, ticketing your own does absolutely nothing but create inter-agency sparring and LOTS of wasted time fighting amongst the mess.
    think of parking placards as a weed. and ticketing the offenders as ripping off tips of these weeds. guess what, unless you really attack the source, handing a bunch of tickets to these guys who likely will fight and win these tickets is just a waste of time.
    you literally have to RIP out the parking placards and not distribute them to begin with, not just ticket them. just like you do to the roots of a weed.

  • carma

    im not denying parking abuse. clearly there is a LOT of it. however, ticketing your own does absolutely nothing but create inter-agency sparring and LOTS of wasted time fighting amongst the mess.
    think of parking placards as a weed. and ticketing the offenders as ripping off tips of these weeds. guess what, unless you really attack the source, handing a bunch of tickets to these guys who likely will fight and win these tickets is just a waste of time.
    you literally have to RIP out the parking placards and not distribute them to begin with, not just ticket them. just like you do to the roots of a weed.

  • Anonymous

    Did you read the NYT blog about it though? (from Today’s Headlines) It’s insane: handwritten notes, all kinds of made-up credentials, etc. It is cultural corruption, not just placard abuse. As long as you can ID yourself as a Brother or a Friend, you’re good. There needs to be an extra penalty of some severity for using bogus credentials if anything is ever going to change.

    http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/05/04/dont-ticket-me-im-one-of-you/?smid=tw-cityroom&seid=auto

  • Once again, the opportunity arises for me to repeat my bit about placards:

    The reason placards work is because there is a class of automobilists who have successfully persuaded the authorities that they deserve the privilege of parking anywhere they like. This class includes police officers, ambulances, active-duty military, federal law enforcement, and doctors. Placard reform can limit the abuses of this privilege (by other municipal workers and elected officials, say), but just getting rid of placards won’t make authorities any less reluctant to ticket cops or doctors.

  • Once again, the opportunity arises for me to repeat my bit about placards:

    The reason placards work is because there is a class of automobilists who have successfully persuaded the authorities that they deserve the privilege of parking anywhere they like. This class includes police officers, ambulances, active-duty military, federal law enforcement, and doctors. Placard reform can limit the abuses of this privilege (by other municipal workers and elected officials, say), but just getting rid of placards won’t make authorities any less reluctant to ticket cops or doctors.

  • Just let regular citizens do it so long as they have a phone equipped with a GPS and camera. Photograph the plate, the place, and the placard, put GPS coordinates in the EXIF data of the photos, submit over the phone, collect a share of the proceeds. That will put an end to this real quick.

  • The Truth

    Actually, I think tinted windows are a greater safety hazard to pedestrians than the out-of-control cyclists. Eye contact with drivers is very important.

    Besides, when a police officer spends extra money to make himself look all thug, and then shows that the thug-life car belongs to a police officer, there is a real problem.

  • Alon Levy

    NYPD Still Won’t Ticket Their Own

    In related news, the Pope is still Catholic.

  • carma

    @station.
    i just read that article. wow, handwritten notes? thats almost as bad as saying to the teacher, “the dog ate my homework”
    for those situations, oh yeah, by all means, ticket the damn car.
    im not proposing bar code placards, but seriously, re-issuing new placards and relooking at who “REALLY” needs it is what is needed.

  • carma

    tinted windows are no hazard to the driver. i disagree that it makes it harder to see the road . with that said, there are certain rules to follow.

    No front windows may be allowed to be tinted below 70% threshhold of light going into the window. that essentially means any commercial tint made CAN NOT be allowed in New York State. The main reason is if a cop pulls you over, they need to see all driver actions. a tinted window DOES make it harder for an outside person to see inside. clearly you see how this can be a hazard to law enforcement.

  • Jay

    Carma, tint is hazardous because people outside the vehicle cannot make eye contact with the driver. It’s particularly dangerous to pedestrians who think a driver saw them in the crosswalk.

  • It is not just parking. Flashing a badge gets many out of most moving violations.

  • nylon saddle

    Reflective license plate covers are designed for the sole purpose of avoiding red light cameras.

    What could possibly be “funny and weird” about expecting the police to crack down on people equipping their vehicles so they can drive them with reckless disregard for life and limb?

  • Tom

    Are we up to 10,000 summons for bikers yet?

    Don’t step on Superman’s cape.

    You’ve been told.

  • NYT won’t post this, so I’ll try it here…
    Teenagers like to cause a little trouble here and there. NYC has lots of teenagers. I propose a 12 hour weekend course where they are taught what is (and is not) a current and valid parking pass. Any cars they find in prohibited areas lacking valid passes, they get to slash the tires. A little teenage trouble for the common good! Just like that, those no-parking spaces will be free of parking. Well, after the cars get towed, cause they can’t drive away.

  • Troll koans are the best koans.

  • Ju33

    Get over it. City employees, doctors, and emergency service workers work long hours, get ordered to stay late, are forced to work on days off and put their lives in danger every day for a mediocre salary. Getting to use a paking permit is not a big deal. Instead of starting conversation with traffic officers why dont you get a life loser. Grow up…

  • What are you talking about???

    I used to work around the corner from the Police Athletic League on E 12 Street. The PAL staff all had placards “allowing” them to park all day in the loading zone along University Place, causing all sort of problems.

    I asked my boss if maybe I should talk them; show them that their parking in loading zones was causing problems with our deliveries and leading to a lot of honking and general road rage. I was going to nicely suggest that they use the giant parking garage around the corner.

    She told me to let it go because they “are forced to work on days off and put their lives in danger every day for a mediocre salary.”

    Wrong. They are youth athletic team managers and if I got a free parking spot in front of my office I would buy a car.

    Getting to abuse a parking permit is a big deal.

  • The Truth

    There are so many problems with your story here Ju33.

    Get ordered to stay late? There are many, many other professions that have to stay late. They don’t get to break the law.

    Put their lives in danger? Some NYPD and FDNY do, but their brother-in-law illegally using the placard or PBA card does not.

    Mediocre salary? NYPD and FDNY do dangerous jobs, and I don’t begrudge them their pay in the slightest. But let’s get real – there aren’t other job out there that’s going to pay them more for their level of education. And they are paid enough to afford to pay for their parking.

    Loser for seeking that laws enacted by our elected officials be enforced? No – the person who allows the police to do whatever they want, instead of following the law, would be the loser. As in losing their rights to live in a free democratic country.

    Let’s be clear – most people are not questioning the legal use of a parking placard – the use for which it was issued. What people are questioning is the illegal uses that go unpunished.

    If you don’t like the law, get over. Or change it.
    But the rule of law shall prevail.

  • carma

    ditto to thetruth.
    i would not question on legitimate use of a placard. cops/fdny do need immediate ways of getting to their destination. but clergy, vendors, and other non essential service workers do not. and thats why we really do need to revamp the whole placard system.

    although i recognize that most cops live not in the inner core of the city, and live in the outer reaches. a cop living in lets say sunset park brooklyn which has access to the N/R/D trains and lets say works the beat in chelsea, probably should be taking the train instead of a personal vehicle. Heck, it might even be faster.

  • Instead of getting a permit that a human has to check, why not get a special card to feed the muni meter that allows for longer and free parking times for special people? Then it would be easy for the city to regulate, as they wouldn’t work after expiration.

    As for people parking where no parking is allowed, well, clearly there aren’t enough muni meters, or they are too cheap, or there would be enough spots at muni meters for everyone.

  • carma

    that would be great if all street parking were muni meters. but to have every on street parking space a munimeter is not practical or realistic.

  • Blahlah

    Haha. I can’t wait until the police academy moves to Queens in a couple of years and all of the complainers whining about the parking around Gramercy park are whining about the sudden surge in crime once the thousands of cops in their area disappear and the crooks come out to play in their pristine neighborhood.

  • carma

    Jay,
    That is why in NYS, essentially all commercial manufactured tint is illegal in the front windows since the legal limit is 70%. To my knowledge there is no tint that is more than 50% tinted commercially made.
    It is a primary hazard to law enforcement because an officer does need to see the driver actions clearly.

    Tint is LEGAL in all other windows up to a certain %. Every state has its own rules. Im sure you ask, why even have tint at all. It does serve its purpose. It does cool the car significantly in the summer and does protect the interior surfaces. And it does have a nice look to it. (to each his own).

    However, I dont see how tinted front windows are any more a hazard to pedestrian. A ped’s primary focus should be the entire car and not to look only at the driver. (even if it is illegal to have front tinted windows)

    @nylon. yes, the ONLY purpose of license plate covers are for avoiding red light cameras.

  • The Truth

    What an unwarranted insult to the 13th Precinct!
    The fine officers at the 13 handle crime in this area, not some lowly cadets.

    All the Academy seems to do for the neighborhood is encourage the worst criminal elements within the NYPD.

  • Anonymous

    Right.. what a great way to start as a police officer.. to learn that the law doesn’t apply to you.

    Why not just say, like back in the Serpico days.. Once all those cops who were on “the pad” aren’t around to collect, you’ll see how fast they show up when you need a cop.

  • Edpino

    In Forest Hills 112th Pct it is park with a placard anywhere you choose. Hydrants,Bus Stops corners so they block vision. I have made repeated complaints and only once did I get satisfaction

  • Edpino

    Cops on duty sure, Emergency workers sure but copies of permits for wifes and children or expired ones nope!

  • Bruceleethe1

    You should mine your own business! If it’s not your car you shouldn’t worry about whether not a cop gets a ticket from another agency! Just remember you might need a cop one day to help you out!

  • Guest

    Yes, I may need a cop some day. All the more reason to make sure they are honest people, instead of thugs with badges who believe they can do whatever they want!

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