An internal New York Police Department (NYPD) email is warning officers not to use their police parking placards to park illegally.
Some NYPD officers use their placards as a free parking pass in areas where the rules clearly dictate the opposite. While parking in those areas would earn a civilian a ticket or a parking boot, placard abuse by the NYPD is pervasive enough that an entire Twitter account is dedicated to documenting violators. Tweets show NYPD officers parked in bicycle lanes, in bus lanes, and in fire hydrant zones in non-emergency situations.
Half of New Yorkers seem to complain about how hard it can be to tell where the end of the hydrant zone is, since they might get a hefty fine if they're a foot short…
— placard corruption (@placardabuse) January 3, 2020
The New York City Council has found nearly 9,000 placard abuse complaints since May 2017. More than 5,000 of those have resulted in no action taken against the violators. Fewer than 800 have led to a ticket.
In November, the council passed a set of bills aimed at combating placard abuse. Before this, parking violators got away with their actions because fellow officers frequently failed to enforce the law. When officers did try to apply the law equally, they sometimes faced retaliation—for example, when a traffic agent was suspended for a month without pay after ticketing the NYPD chief of transportation.
Enforcement of the new laws is supposed to begin today. The New York Daily News has acquired an internal NYPD email warning officers about the crackdown. "Guys please share with other officers [especially] if they are doing paid detail or live in the city. Looks like it's our time again to get beat up in the Papers," the email said.
The email cautioned that units have been tasked with identifying violators and documenting the offending officer's vehicle, plates, and placard for the New York City Department of Investigation. Any violator is supposed to receive not just a ticket for the parking violation but a ticket for misusing the placard.