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April Fool's Day

Bratton, de Blasio Release Guidelines on How to Use Fake Parking Placards

9:32 AM EDT on April 1, 2016

Nothing to see here folks. Just your run-of-the-mill parking fraud by municipal employees.

Standing outside 1 Police Plaza this morning, Police Commissioner Bill Bratton and Mayor Bill de Blasio announced a sweeping expansion of New York City's fake parking placard program.

"It is deeply, profoundly unfair that an insular cadre of entitled jerks can park in bus stops with impunity, forcing old ladies with canes to shuffle awkwardly into the street to board," said de Blasio. "With this expansion of the fake parking placard program, now every New Yorker can park in a bus stop with impunity. Every New Yorker with a car, at least."

New York's current fake parking placard program is modeled on its official parking placard program. With an official parking placard, public employees can intimidate enforcement agents into giving them a free pass for any parking violation, no matter how brazen -- even if they park their personal vehicles in bus stops or crosswalks, in front of fire hydrants, or on the sidewalk:

Fake parking placards work the same way, but they're completely fraudulent:

This "Amtrak Police Surgeon" parks anywhere for free.

The problem with the current fake parking placard regime, said Bratton, is that "there are no rules" and "it's a total free-for-all." He wants to get a handle on the situation by issuing clear and consistent guidelines on the use of fake parking placards that all New Yorkers can follow.

"Fake parking placards are for everyone, just use them the way you're supposed to," said Bratton. "We want to be crystal clear: Everyone who plays by the rules can park illegally."

Only items displayed on top of the driver's side of the dashboard will be valid as fake parking placards, Bratton said. He then displayed a partial list of items that will be accepted as fake placards:

    • Reflective vests
    • Construction helmets
    • Union membership cards
    • Laminated cards that imply the vehicle owner has a medical degree
    • Shoulder mics
    • Firearms licenses
    • Neatly folded jerseys for any major league sports franchise based in New York, or the New Jersey Devils
    • Any Yankees gear
    • Copies of the NYPD patrol guide
    • Back issues of POLICE Magazine
    • Anything that says "NYPD" on it

"We're really just looking for orderly presentation -- something that says, 'I put a modicum of thought and effort into this,'" said Bratton. "And it always helps if it says 'NYPD' on it."

When a reporter asked if a better solution might be to shut down the whole placard system, real and fake, and that streets would become more chaotic if more New Yorkers park illegally, Bratton scoffed. "You want to see chaos? Try telling 34,000 cops they have to pay up when a traffic enforcement agent tells them."


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