Ticket Fixing

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The ticket fixing scandal in the NYPD continues to grow. Rocco Parascandola, police bureau chief for the New York Daily News, discusses the story of how police and their unions are helping the wealthy and connected get out of parking tickets.


Rocco Parascandola

Comments [55]

Gene Smith from joysey

Officers of the Court?

Apr. 22 2011 08:35 PM
Amy from Manhattan

Who's missing from the list of people who get their tickets fixed? Defense attorneys, for some unknown reason....

Apr. 21 2011 12:24 AM
geTaylor from Bklyn, NY

Who do these slackers think they are:
elected officials on the city council, including the city council president; flunkies from the mayor's office "managing" city agencies; various citywide elected officials avoiding financial sanctions from the agency charged with oversight of their special interest greased campaigns?

I'm sure the sargeant or his union colleagues will be naming names of the alleged higher-ups; so that we can begin to drain this city-wide sewer of corruption!

Time for a cup of tea.

Apr. 20 2011 04:55 PM
Keszel Weikas from NJ

Example One: The police officers in Sparta Twp., Sussex county, beside their excellent results ( again: Results) in crime level in that 15 thousands inhabitants community (you can leave your house or car doors unlocked) since your neighbors are mostly rich retirees. There is an army of police force (48 or something like that) earning on average 120 grands per year. Someone must pay for that. O.K. Bad drivers. Even better idea. That way we can elevate the safety level on the 5 miles segment of route 15 and pay the similarly elevated cops salaries. What's wrong in that idea? Allegedly nothing until you think who and how is getting those Large Companies CEO equal salaries. Read the latest news, like those of some unfortunately corrupted NJ democratic assembly men taking bribes for helping get such jobs. Since we already know that the public does not benefit from that 24 hours a day financial and psychological harassment , we are coming back to square one: The only reason to have such force is to secure salaries for those chosen one because the system has to feed them, and even more the courts have to bear the burden of the money collection/extortion from the public to satisfy their (Cops) high salaries appetite. Oh stop, the system in Russia is more efficient and less costly than in our low abiding and freedom loving democratic country. Oh you must be insane to thing like that. Yes I'm insane, after living for 10 years in Sussex county.

Apr. 20 2011 03:20 PM
Keszel Weikas from NJ

Congratulation, fellow far away countries freedom defenders! How about asking for no flight zone aerial support, while we go on the street and attempt to confront the local power sinners. Oh, of course, what you talking about, aren't we the greatest democracy on Earth. The corruption is every where. And at the first glimpse, let say at Russian corruption, you would thing, they taking the bribes right in the middle of the road. That's a crime, sure. Thus there is common opinion over there in Russia, that they have bad cops, eho while underpaid are personally taking care about their salaries without the burden to the state, and the good and honest drivers. are suffering. Now lets get back to us. Oh, everything is along the law, the police officers are polite, you are being processed through transparent municipal courts systems... Look in it further! Remember the bad cops in Russia taking care of their underpaid salaries, now we have the opposite in here. The cops are good, the driver are dishonest and bad, worst the the Russian one. Come to any municipal court session in NJ and you see at least 100 people with less or more minor traffic violations, versus 3-5 honest cops with various agendas leading to tickets issuance. Today is illegal stop sign enforcement, tomorrow no hand held phone violation, tomorrow just the meet the quota action. You go to see the prosecutor and he is offering you (read it blackmailing) negotiation with the option of lesser (more expensive fee in exchange for no points on you license) which sounds reasonable, because you avoid extra cost of insurance collection plus higher premium itself. Now, stop for the second! If those violations were so significant and so dangerous to the other drivers, why they can be so easily erased from your record without being retrained or suspended from driving because of your permanent or temporary incapability to drive safely? No, nobody cares about it. So only one question remains. The dollar value. Fine! Now, where is the Russian analogy here?

Apr. 20 2011 02:59 PM
CW from Brooklyn

I notice that most of reactions seems to break down largely along class lines. White educated yuppies & hipsters againist blue collar white ethnics. (Though I know that member of all racial /ethnic groups do fall on both sides.) Why should these civil "servants" have this privilege and I with my education and status do not. The fact that it involves government allows these critics to use the hammer of righteous indignation while ignoring the forms of corruption from "lite to heavy" to their own fields, especially the private sector. Like selling mortgage backed securities and then betting againist and not even facing indictment let alone jail time.

Apr. 20 2011 01:17 PM
charles castro from Queens NY

In 1997 Bliss Verdon was killed by her off duty police officer boyfriend. The reason this happened was because of a ticket fix. Then NYS Senator Emanuel Gold was issued a summons by a Queens cop. The infuriated senator called the police commissioner. Shortly there after police Chief K. Donohue ordered the duty captain who was investigating the harrasment complaint file by Verdon against Dilbert to put that invstigation aside and handle the summons issued to the senator. It took ten days to get the ticket fixed. The rest is history. Read this story in the book NYPD Blue Lies..

Apr. 20 2011 11:49 AM
Hal from Bayside

Why bother even debating this issue? The law is the law regardless of "Connections", and it must apply to all citizens. The letter from the president of SBA rationalizing blatant corruption is the epitomy of all disgrace.
The fact that precinct commanders are bending enforcement rules speaks volumes. When the police assume the responsiblities of the legislative and judicial branches one begins to recall people strutting in brown shirts..

Apr. 20 2011 11:28 AM

The new electronic ticket system mentioned towards the end of the program is not a guarantee of any improvements. As the commenter (superfan) below mentioned, you can only fix tickets that are written up to begin with. Additionally if there is no oversight of the system then there is no accountability. It will be business as usual. I believe one of the big outcomes of the new system will be the Police Department gathering evidence to selectively target officers that they want to fire.

Apr. 20 2011 10:53 AM
Brent from Brooklyn

I work in the film industry. Yesterday I parked our crew van in a metered spot. Although the city issued parking permits which were prominently displayed on the dashboard as required, the van was ticketed for not feeding the meter. Whether or not it is true, everyone I know in the film industry believes that parking enforcement officers are instructed to ticket vans parked in metered spots even if they have a permit. We have the option of sending someone to the mayor's office to get the ticket rescinded, but that would mean paying someone for a day of work - a greater expense than just paying the ticket.

Apr. 20 2011 10:51 AM

The Mullins letter sheds light on one thing: he confirms then, that the police dept. is built on corruption from day1. Secondly, if you do not apply a 'law' without prejudice to ALL, but you respond differently based on other factors, THATs corruption in practice; The soo far into it, it can't see the forest from the trees. And this community leader HAS NO CLUE to the definition that word. The tone of the letter is defensive and I find it insulting that this man holds this position in the community. But he was elected probably by the like-minded. Now I know why the tickets are getting more expensive....I am also paying someone else's !!!!

Apr. 20 2011 10:50 AM
Anonymous from New York City

I am ashamed of having done something unethical in a parallel universe. I recently used my influence at one of our most prestigious law schools, of which I am a graduate, to gain admission preference for him. He was admitted in a very limited enrollment, but I am tortured by the thought that a more deserving candidate was denied admission as a result of my unethical behavior. As a retired Professor of Law this is antithetical to my own teaching.

Apr. 20 2011 10:49 AM
dboy from nyc

Let's also discuss ticket quotas.

Last week I received a citation for no seat belt. I removed my seat belt to park in front of my kid's school. The officer stopped me while I was trying to parking. This was after I finally made it through an intersection (Watts & Thompson, entrance traffic to the Holland Tunnel) that was COMPLETELY blocked with traffic backed up for MANY, MANY blocks in two directions. "Do Not Block The Box" signs on every corner. Four crosswalks with children trying to pass. A car standing horizontally, completely blocking a crosswalk. When I pointed out to the officer (ID#927539, PCT 001) that I was parking where he was standing and had just removed the seatbelt to park, I also pointed out the traffic chaos taking place, literally all around us including the children caught in crosswalks BLOCKED with vehicles. His response was that the day was "seatbelt day". He told me that he had a quota to write seatbelt citations and none of the CLEAR and blatant violations taking place EVERYWHERE around him and the safety of the children trying to cross the street was NOT his responsibility. I finished parking my car, he wrote the citation and continued to ignore the chaos!!!

Witnesses who watched this exchange were OUTRAGED.

I'm not excited to pay the inevitable parking citations if they are fair and justifiable but, I do it. This citation, and the cop's admission to quotas and his refusal to address actual safety concerns in order to fulfill his edict was BEYOND description and corruption!!!

Apr. 20 2011 10:48 AM
mgdu from NYC

If NYC municipal government has any respect for law and order, and if the NYPD is to deserve citizen support, every police officer who has been involved in such corrosive corruption, up to Kelly if so, has to be brought up on criminal charges.

Claims that this is a minor matter are ridiculous. To balance it out, all fines paid by citizens who were not accorded this kind of criminal assistance need to be refunded. That will not be a minor sum.

Corruption has increased enormously since NYC has stopped requiring NYPD officers to live inside city limits and to wear their uniforms transiting back and forth to work. Those rules must be reinstated now to stop the corruption and to reintegrate police officers into the communities in which they work, without which integration policing deteriorates from the enforcement of law and order into us-against-them hostility.

Apr. 20 2011 10:34 AM
Brian from Hoboken

I am amused by the shocked reaction of many listeners. Maybe I am jaded by living in the cesspool of corruption known as Hoboken/Hudson County. Around here every cop has the placard, the badges on windshield, etc. There are more "handicapped" people per capita in Hudson county than anywhere inthe world (even though people with handicapped placards are still supposed to fill the meter to it's max time but are not required to refill it they never put in any money). Sometimes I see what i call the Trifecta- a car with a handicapped tag, an "Official business of sherriff/police/whatever" placard on the dash, and a badge affixed to the windshield. LOL. Just looked up and car with "9 HPD" plates and badge in windshield parked in front of me and didn't pay meter!!!! Classic!

Apr. 20 2011 10:33 AM

1. Third world immigrants look to police behavior to literally learn what the rules of the road are and where the line is drawn. Cops parking in bike lanes or in no parking zones and stories about "getting out" of tickets is America's most public and instructive way of calling BS on our so-called "Rule of Law."

2. Bloomberg's comment that tickets are no longer a problem since now they are written up electronically is cynical indeed. There are so many golden badges and even "Legion of Honor" license plates that the most likely recipients of this two bit corruption are never written up in the first place.

Apr. 20 2011 10:30 AM

I agree with Kim, the Public Defender. The NYPD is corrupt, arrogant, and doesn't even qualify marksmanship as we see from the appalling shoot-m'-ups in the news.
No cops should have free range driving and parking privileges not encoded in statute. They are citizens first. Their contempt for the public is a pandemic.
And of course Bloomberg fears and worships Raymond Kelly and supports the arrogance and lavish budget of the NYPD without question.

Apr. 20 2011 10:30 AM
Stefanie from Washington Heights

The placards are a huge problem! I live on a street where there's no parking on one side. But every single night there are a handful of cars that park in the no parking zone with their "Official Police Business" placards posted. They aren't on police business; they are at home, sleeping. So while I pay to park in a garage, they get free parking wherever they want, whenever they want. It's infuriating.

Apr. 20 2011 10:27 AM
Chico from NJ

This whole concept infuriates me, as did the income tax cheating discussed yesterday. Everyone complains about the system not working, but then thinks nothing of how this behavior is a significant part of the culture that breaks the system. I've worked with a number of people from India who say that bribing police is the norm, and who say it's refreshing to worry less about that here, but hearing about this makes me think we are becoming more like India in this way. This is a slippery slope that should never be allowed, condoned, ignored, or defended.

Apr. 20 2011 10:26 AM
victoria solin from New York City

I cannot understand why the issue of someone with connections getting a parking (or moving violation) ticket dismissed (or is it erased?) is anything but against the law - especially when you consider the "fixing" of the ticket is being done by the very people who are paid to uphold the law.
As your listener just pointed out, those of us with no connections never even have a chance to defend ourselves without putting our selves in further financial jeaopardy.

Apr. 20 2011 10:25 AM
CL from New York

Sorry for mistaking the caller's name for the guest's (Rocco).

Apr. 20 2011 10:25 AM
Meeshell from LIC

This is not a matter of slavishly obeying whatever laws are on the books. It is a matter of ethical relations with the rest of society. What happens when a young officer gets canned for wanting to speak out and blow the whistle on these "little perks"? Or what happens when after a string of forgiven parking violations, a privileged officer's brother wants to get a pardon for a domestic violence summons? Or wants to erase something on his record? Also, the police force is not an equitable reflection of all New Yorkers. Among elite officers, there are stratifications of race and class privilege that also play into who gets special advantages and who does not. This is a slippery slope in many ways, regardless of whether you think these tickets are given justly or not.

Apr. 20 2011 10:25 AM
Robert from NTC

She's right, the police department almost completely corrupt

Apr. 20 2011 10:24 AM
patricia lindridge from Florham Park NJ

This is similar to the 'get out of jail free' cards - the PBA card - do they have them everywhere? Huge bone of contention for me, that a police family member, friend or other that has been given a card by a connection in the police force, can pull out a PBA card at a traffic stop and not be given a ticket. Larger insult being that the police are funded by tax dollars, and all tax payers are not treated equally.

Apr. 20 2011 10:24 AM
CL from New York

Courtesy? Longstanding practice? How are these considered valid justifications? The NYPD must be held to a high standard. If senior members of the department have been conniving at this practice, then the problem is institutional and these officials should be punished along with the lowly cops who commit the crime.

And by the way, the person who called in (Rocco) implicitly asking for special consideration (and waving his "Americanness") because he is on the road a lot should be ashamed of himself. Obey the damn traffic code and you won't have a problem. Why should the rest of the public be subject to risk due to his flouting of the laws?

Apr. 20 2011 10:23 AM
Frank from Manhattan

How about official placards? If it's illegal to park at a hydrant, why can they do it with impunity? I live near Gracie mansion and at every 'official' party, it's a zoo. They park everywhere that would get me $115 ticket.

Apr. 20 2011 10:23 AM
Beth from Brooklyn

Yet another reason I don't own a car...

Apr. 20 2011 10:23 AM
Daniel Kenney from Lower Manhattan

Ticket fixing should not be a courtesy allowed to our paid law enforcement, it is "corruption lite" Nor should we allow vanity license plates that display the driver to be a policeman, fireman, veteran etc. since it suggests preferential treatment in parking or moving violations. The NYPD often issues a mini-badge to family members to be displayed when pulled over allowing preferential treatment or a "pass".

Apr. 20 2011 10:22 AM
jamison from fort green

A law is a law and a cop is made a cop to uphold them no mater what....I lost my respected for cops a long time ago. They all just feel dirty now a days.

Apr. 20 2011 10:21 AM
tom from astoria

it wouldn't bother me except that my 82 yr old mother, when visiting New York, was not given a single break on ticketseven when appealing to the judge, -- 350.00 worth, even though she made every effort to fix the situation (a van with no back seat, she took it out for luggage, is illegal to park on the street.)

Apr. 20 2011 10:21 AM
Steve from NYC

Life is unfair, deal with it.

Apr. 20 2011 10:21 AM
Lukoba from Essex County in NJ

According to transparency international other countries get low rating for doing this. I’m even opposed to police union members getting specialty license plates on their personal plates.

Apr. 20 2011 10:21 AM
tom from astoria

it wouldn't bother me except that my 82 yr old mother, when visiting New York, was not given a single break on ticketseven when appealing to the judge, -- 350.00 worth, even though she made every effort to fix the situation (a van with no back seat, she took it out for luggage, is illegal to park on the street.)

Apr. 20 2011 10:19 AM
RJ from Prospect Hts

It is no surprise that most of the people listed in the SBA letter are people who are already well fixed enough to pay the sumonses. This is a city--a culture--where those with money "save" money: if you have $104 for a monthly unlimited pass, you pay less than those who don't and have to pay $2,50 per ride; if you have the $ you can rent a parking space rather than the exponentially increasing parking fees, public college tuition have multiplied while the wealthy get legacy admissions and scholarships, and bake sales have to be run for computers in poorer schools when grant-writing to the Gates foundation is done by the knowledgeable well off. Celebrities get "goody bags" with expensive jewelry at red-carpet events.
Having money is the paradoxical prerequisite to "saving" money in this culture.

Apr. 20 2011 10:19 AM
RLewis from the bowery

A courtesy??? Gotti and his folks kept their neighborhood clean and safe, does that make organized crime legal? No. If police believe that this is okay, well then they can't be surprised if the rest of us have no respect for them. You can't have 2 sets of laws.

Apr. 20 2011 10:19 AM
Trudy from Brooklyn

If they're fixing parking tickets, are they not also probably fixing other tickets, e.g., for texting or talking while driving? for driving drunk?

Apr. 20 2011 10:19 AM
Francis Elers from Astoria

This is absolutely corrupt and absolutely corrosive of general public respect for the police and, more worryingly, of hopes for honesty from the public. When people see this kind of thing going on they feel fine about their own 'fuzzy' morality. It should be stopped completely from here on.

Apr. 20 2011 10:18 AM
station44025 from Brooklyn

The ticket fixing "culture" creates a scenario where the police and--I guess--celebrities, politicians, etc. live in a society where they are not subject to the same laws as the rest of us, and think of themselves as members of a higher caste. Next, it makes sense to lie under oath to get convictions because you "know people are guilty", favor members of your own ethnic group, etc.

People who are given huge amounts of legal power and the responsibility of carrying deadly weapons need to be held to he strictest standards of conduct.

The whole point of a democracy is that all people are subject to the same laws, and are all citizens of the same society.

Apr. 20 2011 10:18 AM
Robert from NYC

This has been going on forever. Back in the 1950s my uncle who owned a very popular and famous hero sandwich shop would have his tickets "taken care of" when/if he got one. Everyone loved uncle Joey and the cops on the beat then would all eat in his sandwich shop. You always saw cops in his sandwich shop. Why? They never paid for the sandwiches. I personally remember one day he got a parking ticket. He took the ticket, taped it over the counter and when the cops came in he charged them for their sandwiches. They gave him a look as if "huh? what's this about" no words, just looks. Uncle Joey pointed to the ticket with his chef's knife he used to slice egg plants and then all the police got the message. They "took care of the ticket" and talked to the new cop who had written it. Uncle Joey had it made.
BTW he made the best heroes ever.

Apr. 20 2011 10:18 AM
Mark from Westchester

My father was a cop, but not only have I never had a ticket fixed, I once got a summons for hitchhiking, the infraction for which was put on my driver's license. The situation spiraled out of control whereby the license expired without settling the summons, but that's another story.

Apr. 20 2011 10:18 AM
RJ from Prospect Hts

It is no surprise that most of the people listed in the SBA letter are people who are already well fixed enough to pay the sumonses. This is a city--a culture--where those with money "save" money: if you have $104 for a monthly unlimited pass, you pay less than those who don't and have to pay $2,50 per ride; if you have the $ you can rent a parking space rather than the exponentially increasing parking fees, public college tuition have multiplied while the wealthy get legacy admissions and scholarships, and bake sales have to be run for computers in poorer schools when grant-writing to the Gates foundation is done by the knowledgeable well off. Celebrities get "goody bags" with expensive jewelry at red-carpet events.
Having money is the paradoxical prerequisite to "saving" money in this culture.

Apr. 20 2011 10:17 AM
Steve (don't use my name) from Manhattan

I was a parking judge for years. We were FOREVER getting wives and friends coming in for hearings who said "but I showed the officer my (husband's, uncle's, brother's, sister's) PBA card and he gave it to me anyway." This was not viewed with ANY sympathy.

Using your position or connections for personal advantage in ANY way is simply unacceptable. it undermines confidence in the system by raising questions of integrity of the issuers.

Apr. 20 2011 10:17 AM
Jesse from Westchester

Fixing tickets just promotes the continuation of speeding and other traffic infractions of the ticket receivers.

Apr. 20 2011 10:16 AM
Mary from Downtown Brooklyn

I think it stinks. This is a democracy. We're not all treated equally in this case. And my father was a NYC fireman who definitely took the privileges of the fireman decal on his car, parking wherever, etc... Love the guy, but it's not fair.

Apr. 20 2011 10:16 AM
Vic Losick from Upper West Side

Free parking around every precinct house isn't enough? Ticket quashing adds to the separation of police & the laws that they enforce. Shame.

Apr. 20 2011 10:16 AM
Roger from Brooklyn

Remember the book Animal Farm... Was it not the Pigs that say some animals are more equal than others...

Apr. 20 2011 10:15 AM
Tony from UWS

Ticket fixing is, in effect, taking away public money, meaning we pay more taxes to replace the income. It is wrong.

Apr. 20 2011 10:15 AM
David from West Hempstead

I am shocked that anyone thinks this is news.

Apr. 20 2011 10:14 AM
M. L. from New York, NY

This sets two standards of behavior: one for the police and their associates (and the wealthy, celebrities, etc.) and one for the public. It erodes public trust in the police, especially if it's also perceived that acceptance into the police force is exclusive.

Apr. 20 2011 10:14 AM
Melinda Sterne from Randolph NJ

I believe that tickets shouldn't be fixed once issued. But honestly how is this any different from PBA cards?

Apr. 20 2011 10:13 AM
RLewis from the bowery

It does not matter how long it has been done or who is doing it, it is against the law and that is wrong. period. This is just not a debatable issue.

Apr. 20 2011 10:13 AM
gary from nyc

any officer involved in this practice should be removed from the force, and they should lose their pensions...

Apr. 20 2011 10:13 AM
Patricia from FH

Police officers are not above the law, doesn't matter how long it's been done. They should be investigated and charged.

Apr. 20 2011 10:13 AM
Vlad from Marlboro, NJ

What about the "get out of jail free" card that police give their friend's and family to use when stopped for a potential traffic violation?

Apr. 20 2011 10:13 AM
Anonymous from Tribeca

All I ever had to do was flash my PBA card.

Apr. 20 2011 10:12 AM

Leave a Comment

Email addresses are required but never displayed.

Get the WNYC Morning Brief in your inbox.
We'll send you our top 5 stories every day, plus breaking news and weather.