NYPD families and friends have “get out of jail free” cards

I once saw on a “Judge Judy” TV court show the judge saying she knew why a defendant was not ticketed for a traffic accident. The defendant had made a phone call to his relative in the police department who, in turn, called the cop on the scene and “persuaded” the latter to not issue a citation.

Now we have proof that this kind of police nepotism/corruption is real and commonplace.

Michael Gartland reports for the New York Post, Jan. 6, 2013, that New York city’s police officers give NYPD union cards to their friends and families free of charge. Flashing one with your driver’s license is a way of suggesting you’re a member of law enforcement or at least related to someone who is.

The union cards are meant to be used to prove that a police officer can vouch for another person, though holders often use them to get out of minor incidents like parking and speeding violations. City Councilman Peter Vallone Jr. said, “It’s a way for a police officer to vouch for another person.”

Hot item: New York police union cards are selling on eBay for between $10 and $100But the NYPD discovered that those union cards are selling on eBay for as much as $100 a pop, although the resale of the coveted plastic is strictly prohibited by the unions. As Vallone put it, “That type of recommendation shouldn’t be available to the highest bidder.”

Purchasing the police union cards — Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association (PBA), Detectives’ Endowment Association, the Lieutenants Benevolent Association (LBA) and the Sergeants Benevolent Association are all listed — is as easy as logging on to eBay, charging it to a credit card or PayPal and receiving it in the mail.

One eBay seller, “anonymous1234567,” pointed out that some cards — like the 2013 LBA card he sold to The Post for $100 — work better than others because “the union represents superior officers (bosses) and are harder to come by than the standard PBA cards.”

For sale: The union cards are meant to be used to prove that a police officer can vouch for another person, though holders often use them to get out of minor incidents like parking and speeding violations.

Police union heads and elected officials are calling for a probe and an end to the practice. City Councilman, Eric Ulrich demanded: “We need to do a full investigation. It’s an insult to the people who do work for the NYPD.” For his part, Councilman Vallone vowed he would begin “exploring legal options” to outlaw the sale on eBay.

In other words, what NYPD and Councilmen Vallone and Ulrich are really saying is that only NYPD families and friends can partake of this corruption!

Only one NY councilman, Dan Garodnick (D-Manhattan), recognizes right from wrong, suggesting that the cards be done away with altogether to avoid ethical breaches like the Bronx ticket-fixing scandal, which resulted in charges against 16 city cops. “Our traffic laws should not be enforced with winks and nods,” Garodnick said. “I don’t know which is worse, the existence of a get-out-of-jail-free card or the fact that the cards are being hawked on the Internet.”

Furious: Police union leaders and elected officials say they want an investigation carried out and are looking for a way to stop the online card sales Nepotism is not “professionalism”!

[Source of photos: Daily Mail, Jan. 6, 2013]


11 responses to “NYPD families and friends have “get out of jail free” cards

  1. Here in the South, highway patrol families put on their car a black sticker with a royal blue stripe in the middle. These folks are not pulled over.


  2. Thank you Dr. Eowyn for this revealing post. Justice bought and sold is unconscienable. Our core and absolute values keep diminishing and diminishing…The American people elected a man from a party who eliminated God in their platform. The new religion pounded on everyone in this country is radical secularism. We live in a dictatorship of relativism.


    • Thank you, Joan, for this well-said and well-written response, to which I say “ditto and amen!” Relativity may be fine in physics, but it makes for lousy ethics. When we decide to vote for ‘the lesser of two evils’ we’re still voting for evil. Stalin was a big fan of voting, because he knew that it’s not the vote but the counting of them that matters. And here we are today, victims of a horribly corrupt electoral system.


  3. Happens here in the Northwest area too…and bonus if you are a judge, usually no charges.


    • Now hold on a minute. Keep your hands off my PBA Card. LOL
      When I lived in NY my best friend since I was 8 was a cop. Every year he gave me a “Courtesy” card. Each officer received 5. Now they say there is no ticket writing quota. BS. There is. So when they need to make there quota they go out and will write
      you a ticket for doing 38 in a 35. Piddly stuff. The idea is hey I won’t write your Mom/Wife/Brother etc. minor stuff. It Is not for felony stupidity
      If you are DUI….Go to Jail. 60 in a 30 Get a ticket. On the back of each card he would write.
      “Please extend any courtesy you can to my wife/ mother/ cousin (Me)” he would write our names and sign his and add his Badge# and phone number.
      In 25 yrs I think it got me out of 3 tickets. Know what some cops are hard ass’s and would write their own Mother’s. So it also probably did me no good 3 times. If it’s something you go to jail for, you go to jail.
      Some people may think it’s wrong, but when forced to write tickets NYPD look out for each…at least that’s the theory. Now as for selling them on E-Bay I have no idea. In my day there every cop signed his cards. That would eliminate that. And I can’t Imagine a cop selling his cards.
      It’s like Hey Mom no card this yr.
      And think about this…If they are only bringing $ 100 on E-Bay just how valuable are they?


  4. Police corruption and other misconduct hurts everyone – including the police — in terms of lost cooperation, support and trust – which, in turn, diminishes their effectiveness. That’s the reality. Now what? To learn how to confront and prevent it. For more, follow my blog at http://improvingpolice.wordpress.com.


  5. It is true and not just in NY. My husband is in LE and so is his father. I know of multiple instances where family members have gotten themselves out of tickets just by mentioning their relations. I don’t mean by calling the officer themselves, but the family members just mentioning that they are related to a fellow officer! My own dad (not a believer in Christ) was pulled over for suspicion of DWI and mentioned my husband’s name and was let go!!! Please know that my husband had no knowledge of the incident until the next day and he was floored! It happens all of the time in the LE community and it disgusts me and I have related this to my DH many times. He agrees. There is also a huge problem as you can imagine, with the “fraternity.” Rarely, if ever, will an officer ticket another officer.!!! There are some good ones, but because of these reasons, I truly do question how many will be on the side of the people if it comes to civil war/martial law.


  6. Now lets be fair a minute . Anywhere in the country if you are a judge and you speed you don’t need a card the local officers know you so no ticket and if your out of you’re area and say I’m a judge no ticket anyway no need for a card. Same for congressmen and senators even the president. I don’t see former pres. Bush speeding and getting pulled over I don’t see him getting a ticket. Then of course how many times have people random people been speeding and pulled over and because they were nice and honest and explained to the cop that they may be having a bad night or day maybe their mom or dad or brother or sister wife or husband just passed away and they just are numb driving to work or where ever not really paying attention to the speedometer and the cop that pulled them over felt bad and cut them lose no ticket and no PBA card. No matter what it is always at the officers discretion to ticket or not. It is at the officers discretion if you have a PBA card for him to honor it or not for him to take the card or not. It would not be fare to do away with the card I know a family who lost their son in the line of duty he was a cop and his mom collects his cards every year its the PBA way of honering her son and keeping his memory alive and its the only thing she has of her son every year besides her pain and tears. The cards should not be sold on e-bay thats a disgrace and whoever is selling them on e-bay should be asamed of themselves.
    These cards were meant for officers families mom ,dad, brother sister so if they did get pulled over so that the officer doing the pulling over knew that someone in your imediate family has a son ,daughter , husband, wife mom or dad that did the same job as that officer that they took the same risk every day or night of not going back to their family and their family had the risk of growing up without a parent watching the remaining parent go trough hell for years pain that most people could not even fathem because they are not taking that risk every day. And to just show the card and say look someone in my family is like you and please be considerate . Thats all. But this has just got out of hand. And I think these cards were gotten illegally and then sold on e-bay . I dont think officers sold them on e-bay or their families. So people need to consider that people get off without tickets every day everywhere without these cards and to leave the cards alone cause they have sentimental meaning to a lot of folks out there that lost a person who was a cop.


  7. Any police officer or family member of one should be able to explain this a little better if you ask. These are not “get out of jail free” cards, and a quick google search will show that many officers disregard them or only give them merit if the person holding it is courteous, has a clean license, and has been accused of a minor violation. I can’t find any example of an officer who accepts a card without contact information for the officer who originally purchased it (badge/precinct #, phone number, and name).

    Police have a very negative representation in news and media these days, but officers on the job and their families understand that they are at a much higher risk than most of being targeted by domestic terrorism or killed trying to do their job. When you know you are talking to a person who must face these fears and stressors on a daily basis it may impact how you deal with them.

    I have been in the car when someone produced a PBA card during a traffic stop and the officer asked where the driver’s parent worked and if they were still on the job. They were lookin for specifics, “NYPD” doesn’t cover it; when the driver gave the decision, precinct, and physical location (combined with the name, rank, badge number, and phlne number on the card) she was given a warning on a minor violation on a new car (40 in a 30, learning to drive a manual transmission). She also had a clean livense and treated the officer with the utmost respect, as most family members of police do regularly.

    If you want to call it a “perk”, go ahead. Which job doesn’t have them? Food industry workers often eat free, retailers may receive free or deeply discounted goods, and many government officials receive full pay, benefits, and sometimes protection FOR LIFE after serving a two or more year term.

    Can a con artist obtain or reproduce a PBA (or similar) card and lie their way through the rest? Of course. Criminals will always do what they are best at to get around the laws, that’s not the same as being treated with understanding because an officer understands your situation a little better.

    An average ticket might cost a person a couple hundred dollars. I’ve saved that much by knowing my mechanic, a landscaper, neighbor with a plow, borrowing equipment rather than renting it, or even knowing a guy who worked at the drive in movies!

    Every relationship has its benefits, but who do you know who is targeted with physical violence simply for going to work? Do you worry that your husband, wife, parent, or child will be killed at work because of their uniform? Did you forget that police are first responders not only to “ordinary” crime but also to terrorist attacks, car accidents, fires, and bomb threats? They go where everyone else has been evacuated, they face the people you run from, and they are hated for writing a summons when you knowingly broke a law. Maybe this won’t change your opinion, and that’s fine. But at least try to keep it in mind next time you see an officer directing traffic in the December rain or July sun, at your window when you know you were speeding, or at your door when they’re looking for information to help find a real criminal. Try being respectful, apologetic, and forthcoming with information that won’t put you in any trouble; you may be surprised by the difference you can make with your own attitude.


    • “Try being respectful, apologetic, and forthcoming with information that won’t put you in any trouble; you may be surprised by the difference you can make with your own attitude.”


      I’m baffled by how you went from the subject of my post — nepotism PBA cards, for which you lavished excuses — to a non sequitur and totally gratuitous lecture on how to behave with a cop. FYI, I’m always courteous and respectful towards cops, as are FOTM’s faithful readers and commenters.


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