Self-policing and the NYPD

Friday, November 04, 2011

WNYC reporter, Ailsa Chang, discusses developments in the ticket-fixing scandal involving several NYPD officers, and talks about the culture of the NYPD. Richard Aborn, president of the Citizens Crime Commission, discusses a study on oversight for other major police departments, and how misconduct is handled by agencies with subpoena power.


Richard Aborn and Ailsa Chang

Comments [37]

How is it that EVERY hotdog cart in the entire city allowed an gasoline generator on the street and the folks at #OWS can't have generators to prevent hyperthermia???

Nov. 04 2011 12:11 PM

I recently directed a traffic cop down the block to a car parked in front of a fire hydrant, it's occupants were eating lunch across the street. He immediately moved to ticket the vehicle, when he arrived in sight of the vehicle he made a disgruntled about face.

NYPD police car - Apparently, immune from jeopardizing peoples' lives and property in Williamsburg at Powers and Lorimer.


Nov. 04 2011 12:02 PM
Phil from Irvington, NJ

As a person intimate with the workings of police agencies on multiple levels, I can tell you that in the eyes of law enforcement and government employees in general there is an us and them mentality with them being the civilians. If you're on the US side then the "courtesies" you are entitled to include a pass on most any traffic violation, a blind eye towards criminality on a misdemeanor level, and depending on the presence or absence of witnesses low level felonies. Of course that depends on your status. If you are a holder of a simple PBA card without pedigree (source) then you'll skate on simple traffice violations or have serious one downgraded. Going up the scale, you'll have dismissed, lost, or not even noted in a report most any crime. Case in point, I was present when a woman I was dating was pulled over by pursuing police, after having assaulted another woman in a parking lot. She was clearly intoxicated, speeding, and when she pulled her wallet from her purse out fell a small packet of white powder. Removed from the car she made it a fast point to show her "Officers Wife" shield. All was forgiven and nothing ever came of it except that she had to park her vehicle and her husband had to come pick her up. Of course, I'm sure, she got the strap put to her when she got home, but had it been me in that position I would have been lucky to get off with a mere 10 years in prison. Oh, the cocaine was confiscated and put towards the goodie bowl at the next police sex party. I've got some first and second hand experience there also. It amazes me how blind andgullible the populace chooses to remain to the criminality of police on all levels.

Nov. 04 2011 12:01 PM
Robert from Montclair NJ

In New Jersey if one donates enough money to the PBA or is a family member of a police officer they can obtain a large gold shield that they post in the windshield of their car. No one ever talks openly about what the purpose of that shield is but isn't it obvious? No one who has one of these shields ever gets a ticket! I have seen these since I was a child. Having lived in NYC for almost twenty years and now back in NJ I can tell you the average police force in NJ makes the NYPD seem like a bunch of choir boys.

Nov. 04 2011 11:48 AM
Esther from NYC

Come on, is there really corruption at the NYPD? Do we really need oversight? I don't know maybe we should ask Adrian Schoolcraft.

Nov. 04 2011 11:48 AM
Aneece from Brooklyn

Isn't the problem that these corruption cases have been uncovered by outside entities? Where are Internal Affairs? Are they to busy doing favors for there buddies and political patrons?

Nov. 04 2011 11:44 AM

How about WILDLY AGGRESSIVE ticket quotas???

I have had a NYPD police officer state to me that the day he was writing me a citation for no seatbelt (whilst parking my car in front of him) that the day was "No Seatbelt Day". He said his only assignment for the day was to write as many no seatbelt citations as he could and he was sorry he was writing me an undeserved ticket but that was his orders. Meanwhile, at the nearby intersection of Thompson and Broome (near the entrance to the Holland Tunnel) traffic was backed up for BLOCKS because no one was either directing traffic OR enforcing "don't block the box" laws!!!


Nov. 04 2011 11:44 AM
Aaron from Brooklyn

Any kind of "culture" of breaking the law among public LAW ENFORCERS should not be tolerated. Period.

Nov. 04 2011 11:43 AM
snoop from Brooklyn

The NYPD has a serious problem with professionalism. Fixing tickets is just a symptom. Cops need to take their jobs seriously and take the role of the police in society seriously.

When they do, ticket fixing will go away. Of course, I'm not holding my breath.

As for the cops who say, we never knew that it's a crime... so what? There are people appearing before judges EVERY day, who didn't know that what they were doing was a crime... you don't see cops or prosecutors shedding tears for them.

Nov. 04 2011 11:42 AM
Susan from nyc

Police are not above the law and should never be. Ticket fixing may just be the tip of the iceberg of corruption in the police force. What about POLICE BRUTALITY and how they get away with it all the time. There should be a retraining of police to behave like human beings not Robots. When police become Robots, they lose their humanity and they lose their soul.

Nov. 04 2011 11:40 AM
steve from brooklyn

i found the police officer's comment to be DISGUSTING, and what is more, completely emblematic of the "we are better than you" culture that the NYPD displays at every turn.

If you're doing something against the law--something that is clearly indicative of favoritism--and your cocksure, ignorant response is "it's not against the law", then YOU HAVE NO RIGHT TO BE A COP.

Nov. 04 2011 11:40 AM
Amy from Manhattan

It's a "courtesy"? So that's what it means in "courtesy, professionalism, & respect"! Now we just need to know what the police definitions of the other 2 words are!

No one should get away w/violating a law because they have a friend or family member who's a cop. Traffic violations may sound minor, but they endanger lives.

Nov. 04 2011 11:40 AM
Robert from NYC

Ray Kelly's a thug and so too are many of his cops. You tell me why it was necessary to pepper spray those folks at OWS? There is no or very little resistance to their arresting and taking away of protestors yet they use brutal, physical force and sometimes very brutal bloody damaging force on these folks. That's uncalled for and it's sadistic. It is a misuse of power. These guys (many not all of the) are thugs with a license to kill. I think if some weren't cops they'd be criminals.

Nov. 04 2011 11:39 AM
Trish from Madison, NJ

Man, the NYPD must love Ailsa!

Nov. 04 2011 11:39 AM
Aneece from Brooklyn

We just had a cop call in and explain that ticket fixing isn't wrong, and then your guest stated that cops know that ticket fixing is wrong.

The problem isn't just a bout cops misbehaving, it's about ordinary people living under one set of laws, and the powerful and well connected living in a world without "tickets". This is a larger societal problem. Elites need to be dragged down to the real world with the rest of us, be they bankers or city councilmen.

Nov. 04 2011 11:38 AM

What about the fact that the NYPD targets
taxi drivers for tickets? I've seen police cars with officers eating sandwiches and doing nothing while a stopped driver, pulled over, sits and waits and loses money. It's a fact that they do this and though may seem like small potatoes, the people being targeted are often new immigrants or others who look foreign or don't speak English well. So it becomes a real shame and blight and one the cab-taking public is all too aware of.

Nov. 04 2011 11:37 AM
Jesse from Westchester

Fixing tickets just encourages those who have their tickets "fixed" to continue to drive recklessly.

Nov. 04 2011 11:35 AM
Quincy from Bed-Stuy

This issue reminds me of the adage from "The Wire" that refers to fecal gravity. It always rolls downhill. Perhaps supervisors should take responsibility instead of pulling rank.

Nov. 04 2011 11:35 AM
fuva from Harlemworld

...correction: STRONG warning...

Nov. 04 2011 11:34 AM
Bob from Westchester

Please emphasize that the tickets in question in this scandal are all for moving violations, not merely alternate side parking violations. People could have been seriously issued by the ticketed persons actions.

Nov. 04 2011 11:34 AM
MC from LIC

And once again, the NYPD provides a case study of hypocrisy and impunity. This, combined with the image of cops harassing and bullying protesters at Occupy Wall Street--plus the officers' brazen willingness to take to the streets to protest their "right" to engage in corruption--will only further tarnish the institution.

Nov. 04 2011 11:34 AM
John from NYC

These PBA "get out of violation" free cards should be eliminated as well. This is a scam for NYPD friends and family.

Nov. 04 2011 11:34 AM

This type of corruption has always been the case in any corporate, political, or public institution. Verification is key. Ironically, my father has always been a cantankerous whistle blower. He had a vehicle that he used from the County of Marin and NEVER ONCE would drive me to the bus-stop because it was against the rules. He nailed Barbara Boxer on a technicality. She parked her campaign vehicle where his crew was paving a road, which was illegal. He towed her campaign vehicle away from his work site. She tried to get him fired for years and never succeeded. Same sort of deal. Some people take advantage of power.

Nov. 04 2011 11:33 AM
Laura from UWS

What would move the NYPD to obey a higher standard?

What does NYPD care about? Fear?

What 'motivators'?

BTW, I saw the wife of a big donor to some police association boast about how flashing the membership card can prevent speeding tickets. (speeding kills, doesn't it?)

Nov. 04 2011 11:33 AM
Robert from Upper westside Manhattan

There are laws for the Police and laws for the Public. Example. West 100 St between Amsterdam & Columbus. 3 apt buildings, a library, public health center, police station, fire station and childrens playground on this block. The entire block is double parked each and everyday by the police and fireman, who are too good too take the subway to work like everyone else. This causes all the parked cars, including police cars to drive on the sidewalks when they can't get out of the spot they are blocked in. The sidewalks are heavily used by children going to school, people going to the park, all who have to dodge cars on the sidewalk. The police ARE criminals, and the Mayor supports this. Is free parking part of the Police contracts?

Nov. 04 2011 11:33 AM


$4.6 million from Chase™, recently???

"Fascism should more appropriately be called Corporatism because it is a merger of state and corporate power." - Benito Mussolini

Nov. 04 2011 11:32 AM
fuva from Harlemworld

Was there any stern warning against ticket fixing before the D.A. got involved? I think this was warranted under the circumstances where something that is wrong was tolerated for so long. Issue a string warning, THEN prosecute.

Nov. 04 2011 11:31 AM
Susan from nyc

No way this is harmless, or victimless, as the cops claim. Since we absolutely know that there are quotas for tickets, every friend or family beneficiary means someone else has to be ticketed.

Nov. 04 2011 11:30 AM
DarkSymbolist from NYC!

Oh please..."tarnished the reputation of the NYPD"??? This is all TYPICAL behavior of the NYPD. What reputation is there to tarnish?

What a great argument coming from police..."well I knew it was wrong but everyone else was doing it..."


Nov. 04 2011 11:30 AM

Contrary to what Brian Lehrer seems to imply, it isn't _one_ report of NYPD using systematic, racist policy in its so-called "anti-terrorist" policy, it is many reports — most originating from the AP, but others coming from Muslim organizations that have been reporting for years of antagonistic, racist attitudes in US law enforcement agencies.

William Bratton was right. If you give the cops the free run, they will abuse the privilege. Bloomberg and Kelly have regularly taken a "boys will be boys" attitude to NYPD crimes.

Nov. 04 2011 11:30 AM
BUB from manhattan

let's not forget about the cop rapist of the east village and his lookout partner.

Nov. 04 2011 11:28 AM
Gregory from The Bronx

Ticket-fixing "scandal"! Unlawful marijuana possession busts! What a crock! I have known of cops who ran prostitution rings in their own Manhattan precincts, I've witnessed suspect beating in the precinct, I've known drug dealers who would tell me where they made regularly scheduled payment dropoffs to cops for information provided, business owners who were provided with beepers by cops for "protection," building supers who would tell of cops shaking down drug dealers, and cops who quit because they could not walk the line on police corruption. If I know it, the information is out there, and others know it as well, so please do not tell me that Internal Affairs, CCRBs and the CCC are anything other than bones thrown to the public for its appeasement, dry bones with no meat on, and nothing more.

Nov. 04 2011 11:06 AM
Joe from nearby

Self-policing is a joke & everyone knows it. It's like letting the foxes guard the henhouse. Example: a jury just rewarded $1 million to a guy who the Elizabeth PD pistolwhipped....after IA 'determined' the event 'never happened.' Huh?!
I personally saw NYPD flash their badges at Giant stadium security expecting to get admitted for free. If they do that, right out in the open, what else are they doing?? The arrogance of these people who think they are above the rules the rest of us have to live by!
Don't get me wrong- there's nothing better than a good cop. But there's also nothing worse than a bad one.

Nov. 04 2011 11:03 AM
Sheldon from Brooklyn

Also, the bigger scandal is - Cops never write tickets on each other. For every ticket that's fixed, there are 30 that are never even written.

Nov. 04 2011 11:00 AM
Sheldon from Brooklyn

Patrick Lynch and the PBA are a disgrace.

He says preferential treatment for Cops, their families and friends is and has been an "acceptable" practice, by whom exactly? Did civilian tax-payers ever have a say?

Nov. 04 2011 10:56 AM
Robert from NYC

Big surprise the NYPD cannot "police" itself. It's been proven in all aspects and institutions in our culture and society that banks can't police themselves, that police cannot police themselves and that not even congress can police itself and it goes on and on. This is one corrupt society that has developed in this country that I doubt can be corrected. It has become so incorporated into out institutions and for so long now that many don't even see the problems. This country has turned into nothing it claims to be nor has aimed to be based on out Constitution. We believe that we live our Constitution and we don't. We accept that if someone says it, it's true. This is what we've become and yes all the hypocrites and Pollyanna's will call ME the pessimist, well, just look around man, look where we are, where we've come to be. We've already seen our Golden Era. It's over. We don't learn from history.

Nov. 04 2011 10:06 AM

Speaking of non-investigations, what's the story with last week's shooting and massive manhunt on the Upper West Side? Somehow one off-duty cop had an "altercation" for the second time in two months on the same quiet corner, and this time the "attacker" stole the officer's gun. The NYPD Hercules team and NYPD helicopters were scrambled, turning the UWS into something that resembled a movie-set. But nobody has explained what the cop was really doing there.

Nov. 04 2011 09:28 AM

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