Monday, July 7, 2008

Graft and cronyism: a work perk!

I'm mad as heck and if I hadn't witnessed it for myself, I would've never believed such a thing could exist...an institutionalized form of corruption. Preferential treatment for those in the know...please read on.


Yesterday, I rode shotgun with a friend of mine. At one point, she obviously and blatantly ran a red light. Within seconds, we saw flashing lights behind us; dread settled in as we prepared for our encounter with the cops. My friend politely handed over her license and registration and then casually made a comment, "Oh my boyfriend's a cop" while handing over a leather portfolio that contained some plastic PBA cards as well as a miniature badge with the number of the cop who gave it to her. Why couldn't you stop the car, interrogated one cop. My friend blurted out with a ridiculous fib, Oh because I was afraid the groceries were going to hit us. I had to really control myself to not burst out of laughter over this and the fact that she told them her boyfriend is a cop. How is that relevant?! I marvelled.

As we sat alone while the cops took the documents back to their car, my friend started telling me about how she got out of at least 6 other sticky situations (speeding, not stopping at a stop sign, etc.). She was optimistic that we would not get a ticket. I don't know where her hubris came from and I tried to quash it, "We're definitely getting a ticket. You ran that red light, no question."

The cops came back, gave her a lame warning and even politely informed her one of her brake lights were out. They exchanged a few pleasantries and my friend got off the moving violation!!! I was shell-shocked. My friend explained to me that cops don't "mess with their own." The "silly" portfolio she handed over, with the PBA cards and badge was actually a get out of jail free card!!!

Since then I've spoken to a number of people and did a little Google search and I've learned this:

NY/NJ cops are given a small number of badges/tokens that they can give to their closest friends and families. When these "friends" are stopped for a traffic violation (or are parked illegally, risking a parking ticket), they can show their "credentials" and the vast majority of the time, instead of getting a ticket, they'll get a: "Have a nice day". (Of course these days many people sell the cards, so I don't think it's unusual for an officer to call the cop who the card originated with to see if it's legit.) In fact, most police organizations discourage their officers from writing tickets to friends of the police - and they're public about it!

They even have a euphemism for it -- PC (professional courtesy). A cop from NY wrote on a Michigan police message board asking if Michigan police would extend PC to NY PBA badge/card holders.

I'm incensed and outraged!

I've been reading a lot of message boards on the debate/discussion about the ethics of this situation. The logic that people employ to condone this is that you wouldn't give your mom a ticket. I think that this is legitimate because you know your mom. But to not give someone else's mom a ticket so that they won't give your mom one is going a step to far. Josh tells me to suck it up as a fringe benefit of cops.

Side note: My apologies for the poor organization of this post. I wanted to spend a lot more time on this post, elaborate a lot more and maybe even submit it to a paper or something but my husband insists that it be extremely brief and that I get it out to my dear readers as soon as possible because they would be interested in this kind of information.

8 comments:

Kenny said...

Your friend sounds really annoying and entitled. Afraid of the groceries hitting her? That's ridiculous. So she'd rather take the risk of hitting someone? Does she want to sound like an 80-year-old lady with Alzheimer's and poor eye sight? Sorry to be harsh, but that is just lame, IMHO!!!

Farnk said...

Where would this kind of thing stop? One day these 'special' people will cause an accident because they think they are immune to paying a fine and getting points on their license. Their privileged recklessness endangers the rest of us...

Haik Bedrosian said...

Your friend sounds really annoying and entitled.-Kenny

Agreed.

And what a pathetic system of corruption. It is an outrage.

There's nothing "professional" about "professional courtesy."

Haik Bedrosian said...

And one more thing. The laws of physics offer no professional courtesies. Your annoying, entitled friend may discover someday that getting smashed by an SUV at an intersection is a lot worse than getting hit by some cheerios.

Anonymous said...

i love it, Haik.

violetta said...

your friend is a douche, so is the cop.

SBP Editor said...

That's terrible! Sort of reminds me of that "Policemen's benevolent association" that for some reason is exempted from phone spam laws and is allowed to keep calling to solicit money. My mom, being from another country, felt quite pressured when they called... after resisting for like 10 minutes the guy started yelling at her and telling her he knows where she lives... she felt horribly intimidated after that. WTF kinda cops do we have? Do we have to call the national guard to keep them in line?

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