A day after NYC launches push to crack down on covered plates, NYPD officers flout the rule

A day after NYC launches push to crack down on covered plates, NYPD officers flout the rule

When questioned by Gothamist, the trooper said the driver told him he was an NYPD officer who was “undercover” so the he didn’t issue a ticket.

One of the allegedly undercover officers hopped out of the van. He wore a heavy vest with the words “POLICE” written in bold white letters. He ripped the mask off the license plate, got in his van, waved to a reporter and drove away.

The day before, Adams stood with Kim Royster, the NYPD’s Chief of Transportation, and Police Commissioner Keechant L. Sewell to announce this type of conduct will not be tolerated.

“We will defeat this public safety threat. We will eradicate fake and obscured license plates that create what are essentially a class of untraceable, ghost-cars moving among us,” Sewell said. “And we need all our law enforcement and government partners pulling with us in this same direction.”

Adams noted that drivers who obscure or use fake plates are often involved in other types of illegal crimes and reckless driving.

“This is connected to our crime problem. This is connected to our vision zero problem. This is connected to the disorderly of our city,” Adams said.

Wednesday’s incident indicates not all law enforcement is fully on board.

The van that was pulled over with a surgical mask over the plates had been caught speeding in a school zone 53 times so far this year alone, and failed to stop at a red light five times. The vehicle has a total of 163 speeding, red light and parking violations going back to 2019. But the vehicle registration includes the letters OMS, which indicates it’s a rental, so multiple drivers could be responsible for the collection of violations.

The NYPD is not required to pay tolls on work vehicles, so it’s still unclear why officers on duty would cover their plates or why they were using a rental.

Gothamist asked the NYPD why an officer would cover the plates of their vehicle and whether it was acceptable for a vehicle driven by the NYPD to have so many speeding and red lights tickets. A spokesperson said the incident was under “internal review.”

A spokesperson for the mayor’s office declined to comment, referring to the Gothamist to the NYPD’s statement.

Beau Duffy a spokesperson for the New York State Police and wrote in an email that the trooper that pulled over the van, “confirmed the driver and passengers were NYPD members who were conducting a law enforcement operation.”

He added that, “Troopers can use discretion with vehicle and traffic violations depending on the circumstances. In this case, the Trooper chose not to issue a violation once the issue with the license plate was rectified.”

That’s not good enough for Public Advocate Jumaane D Williams, who’s had some issues with driving-related violations himself.

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