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April 04, 2004

YOUR TAX DOLLARS AT WORK (FOR THEMSELVES):

The law requires everyone to follow the speed limit and other traffic regulations, but in Suffolk County, exceptions should be made for cops and their families, police union officials say.

Police Benevolent Association president Jeff Frayler said Thursday it has been union policy to discourage Suffolk police officers from issuing tickets to fellow officers, regardless of where they work.

"Police officers have discretion whenever they stop anyone, but they should particularly extend that courtesy in the case of other police officers and their families," Frayler said in a brief telephone interview Thursday. "It is a professional courtesy."

Frayler's comments echo views expressed in the spring union newsletter, in which treasurer Bill Mauck exhorts "you don't summons another cop" and says that when officers decline to cite each other, "the emotion you feel should be that of joy."

Maurice Mitchell, a project coordinator with the Long Island Progressive Coalition, a nonprofit advocacy group, said the PBA's position undermines taxpayer confidence in law enforcement.

It's bad enough that they do this, but it's even worse that they brag about it. But wait, it gets worse:

Angie Carpenter, a Republican lawmaker from West Islip and chairwoman of the legislature's public safety committee, said she didn't have a problem with the PBA's policy because she believes it will be applied judiciously.

"It's the same way they would offer a professional courtesy to a doctor pulled over on the way to the hospital to deliver a baby," she said. "Besides, I can't imagine that if some police officer was to commit an egregious offense that they wouldn't be cited, regardless of who they are."

So much for political oversight. So a doctor en route to an emergency is the same as a cop who's just driving too fast? Sheesh. Are these people for real?

UPDATE: Rand Simberg observes:

While this is outrageous in itself, it would seemingly put the lie to the notion that the purpose of such laws in for public safety, since it's no "safer" for a police officer's wife to speed than it is for anyone else. It's a tacit admission that it's all about revenue generation. . . . Remember this the next time you hear a lecture from a cop about how dangerous it is to exceed the speed limit.

Indeed.

ANOTHER UPDATE: More here, including this bit:

Police departments often commend officers who have a knack for seizing drugs and arresting drunken drivers.

But in Bel-Ridge, such officers risk a stern warning.

Supervisors have warned some of them that busting bad guys or making time-consuming arrests distracts them from their true mission - generating money for the village.

Sheesh.

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