Five More Manhattan Precincts are Filled with S-Cop-Laws
He calls himself HAZRDUS — and he’s not lying.
This unidentified officer at the 34th Precinct with the telling vanity license plate drives to work in a car that has been nabbed six times for speeding — four times since 2016. But his dirty half-dozen of serious moving violations doesn’t even put him among the worst-driving NYPD employees.
One month after Mayor de Blasio said he was “concerned” after hearing about Streetsblog’s ongoing investigation into the driving habits of cops, we discovered five more Manhattan stationhouses filled with repeat offenders like HAZRDUS.
- At that same tip-of-Manhattan precinct where HAZRDUS works, 67 percent of the officers’ cars had been nabbed by a camera for a serious moving violation, such as speeding or running a red light — far above the citywide average of 58 percent. And 42 percent — above the citywide average of 37.6 percent — had multiple serious moving violations. The worst offenders included one cop’s car with 29 tickets total, including three serious moving violations; another cop with 34 tickets overall, also with the two moving violations; one cop with so many speeding and red-light tickets — 10 — in such a short amount of time that his or her car would be impounded under the provisions of a pending bill by Council Member Brad Lander that would get the worst drivers off the road. The stationhouse also had a cop with nine serious moving violations; one with seven; HAZRDUS with six; two with five serious moving violations; and two cops with multiple moving violations — and possibly more: they also had violations for missing or defaced plates.
- At the 30th Precinct in Hamilton Heights, 50 percent of the cops had serious moving violations and 37.5 had multiple violations. The worst offender was one cop with five serious moving violations — though he or she might have been eclipsed by another officer with three serious moving violations (and two tickets for a covered plate).
- At Midtown North, the command famous for once tacking a cyclist in a bike lane, 52 percent of the cops’ cars had moving violations, with 34 percent of them getting named multiple times. Three cops would get their cars impounded under the Lander bill, including a cop with nine serious moving violations, one with seven and one with 10. The stationhouse is also home to a driver with 11 serious movers, one with five and three with four.
- At the 17th Precinct in Turtle Bay, 49 percent of the cars had serious moving violations, with 31 percent getting nabbed repeatedly. The two worst offenders were a cop with so many tickets — five — in so short a time that he’d be subject to the Lander bill’s boot; and one cop with 28 total tickets, including eight serious moving violations.
- And at the 33rd Precinct in Washington Heights South, 51 percent of the cars had serious moving violations — and 28 percent of the officers had repeat serious vehicular offenses. One cop’s car had 10 speeding tickets — enough to make him eligible for impounding under the Lander bill. Another cop had six speeding tickets.
Taken together, those five precincts have violation rates roughly track the citywide average calculated as part of Streetsblog’s exhaustive review of the 32 stationhouses in all five boroughs.
So far we run 1,498 cars through the Howsmydrivingny database of camera and parking violations (reminder: all of the cars we checked were either parked in NYPD-only parking or parked nearby with a police-issued placard). Of those:
- 1,148 cops’ cars — or 77 percent — have been ticketed for something at least once.
- 872 — or 58 percent — have received at least one serious moving violation.
- 564 — or 37.6 percent — have received multiple serious moving violation tickets.
This investigation began only after Mayor de Blasio said he intended to build more parking spaces so that police officers could legally park around stationhouses. Many applauded the effort to rein in placard abuse, but some grumbled that the mayor was merely rewarding cops’ notoriously bad parking. Streetsblog decided to examine not just the parking habits of officers, but also their driving records, running the plates and finding egregious driving among the people who are supposed to be protecting us.
At the very least, these are not people who should be encouraged to drive to work by the perk of getting free parking.
For comparison, Streetsblog ran the plates on 100 random cars parked on a block in Park Slope and a block in Manhattan and found that cops violate vehicular law at roughly twice the rate of normal people. Only 36 percent of everyday people’s cars got one moving violation — compared to 58 percent for cops. And only 19 percent of normal people have received a second ticket for a serious moving violation — nearly half of the 37.6 percent of cops who have gotten more than one serious moving violation.
When we asked the mayor about this in early April, he said he intended to take action:
I’m definitely concerned and we are going to follow up on that. Any new information we get focuses us on where there’s a problem, we’re going to follow up. This is an administration that for five years has been implementing vision zero very aggressively, unlike any previous administration, and I think if you look around the country, you would see we have the most aggressive approach. We’ve layered on more and more enforcement every year and we’re going to be very very aggressive. So this information is something we can work with and we’re going to act on.
We asked City Hall if any action has been taken yet, but was told it’s still under review.
“As the Mayor said, we are looking into this,” said de Blasio spokesman Seth Stein. “Reckless driving puts lives at risk and has no place in our city.”