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Saturday, July 12, 2008


The New York Post by MURRAY WEISS, Criminal Justice Editor - July 10, 2008

An NYPD crackdown on illegally parked cars boldly sporting city, state and federal placards on their dashboards has resulted in 2,400 summonses - more than 1,000 of them issued to city cops and detectives, The Post has learned. Over the last three months, special teams of Internal Affairs officers have scoured congested streets in lower Manhattan and around government hubs in outer boroughs, searching for vehicles whose drivers abuse their parking-placard perks and slapping tickets on 2,488 cars. Topping the list of offenders were New York's Finest, hit with 1,053 summonses for leaving their cars in crosswalks, near hydrants or bus stops or in "no standing" zones, mostly around courthouses and station houses. Federal agents and other US government personnel were the second-worst abusers, with 282 tickets - most carrying a $115 fine. Courthouse officers and employees received 275 summonses.

FDNY members were hit with 122 tickets for abusing their department or union placards, and New York's Strongest were caught 14 times misusing Sanitation Department permits. Education Department staffers racked up 53 tickets, and Correction Department employees got 120 summonses. "The [placards] were never designed to permit the type of illegal parking that these summonses and tows reflect," said NYPD Deputy Commissioner Paul Browne. In addition to tagging placard abusers, the IAB watchdogs also issued summonses to anyone else they saw violating city parking regulations. The cops ticketed another 264 vehicles bearing "official" or "government" license plates that were illegally parked and didn't have placards. They also wrote 878 summonses for cars that belonged to everyday motorists and for commercial vehicles. In total, the IAB cops have issued summonses to 3,530 illegally parked vehicles, and towed 512 of them to city pounds during their rounds since the crackdown began April 1. News of the crackdown and the city's efforts to roll back the number of permits doled out to government employees has apparently had an impact on people trying to use phony or imitation placards. IAB cops haven't spotted any fakes since the program's initial week, when a retired sergeant was charged with having a phony placard. The parking-placard issue came to a head in January, when Mayor Bloomberg - pushing for congestion pricing to reduce traffic in lower Manhattan - ordered a minimum 20 percent across-the-board reduction in the prized permits after getting fed up with stories of rampant abuses. A City Hall study found that there were an astounding 144,160 municipal-government permits floating around the city - allowing motorists to park just about anywhere except for hydrants and bus stops - and that privileged parkers were creating havoc, especially downtown. City Hall ordered the number of permits slashed to 80,770 at 68 agencies that were manufacturing their own with little oversight. On May 1, the mayor's office further reduced the number to 54,891, and placed control of the gilded system under the Department of Transportation and the NYPD. Browne predicted the crackdown will further reduce abuses. "We are already seeing fewer violations," he said.

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