In November, Mayor de Blasio and NYPD Commissioner James O’Neill said that police officers who obscure their license plates to evade tolls and traffic enforcement cameras would be caught and penalized. “There are a couple of things in the City of New York that really bother me and this is one of them,” O’Neill said at the time. “We check within all the precincts and all our different units to make sure none of our official cars have them and none of our private vehicles have them. And if they do, they will be facing disciplinary action.”
But is NYPD’s internal discipline making an impact?
In February, Inside Edition ran a segment about the widespread practice of obscuring plates on police vehicles in Lower Manhattan. And if you follow @placardabuse on Twitter, you’ll see plenty of evidence that officers are still getting away with it. Here’s a review of the offenders @placardabuse has recently spotted.
Most officers go the basic route of a plastic cover, which shields their vehicle from identification by speed or red-light cameras. Others take extra steps, like the motorist on 23rd Street who taped “THE BOSS” over the first half of his license plate number (above). Or the officers who fold their plates to achieve the same effect:
One frequent fire hydrant obstructer with both NYPD and handicapped placards picked up five tickets for running red lights and another three for speeding in a school zone in 2015 and 2016, according to NYPD data. Here is the workaround — an illegal plate cover with some reflective tape over the license number for good measure:
Meanwhile, in the parking lot at NYPD headquarters, @placardabuse has documented cars with folded license plates and some with no license plates at all.
Commissioner O’Neill said he’d do something about this abuse, but aside from the occasional ticket, NYPD doesn’t seem to be keeping up the pressure on its own offenders.