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Sunday, October 30, 2011

They Still Fix Tickets?

     Following a long-running internal affairs and grand jury investigation in The Bronx New York, sixteen New York City police officers were indicted on October 20 for ticket fixing and various counts of corruption. Two of the defendants are officials in the Patrolman's Benevalent Association, the city's largest police union. Also facing charges are two seargants and a lieutenant. The lieutenant, who had worked on the case when assigned to internal affairs, has been indicted for leaking wiretap information to the ticket fixing defendants. Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly has reminded the media that the scandal represents a tiny fraction of the 35,000-member department.

     According to the District Attorney's Office, more than 800 traffic summonses were fixed during the three-year investigation. When the investigative dust settles, more than 400 police officers could either face criminal charges or disciplinary action. The investigation began in December 2008 with an anonymous tip that an officer had been protecting a drug dealer. In the suspect's wiretapped conversations, internal affairs investigators learned about the ticket fixing racket.

     What surprises me about this case is that, given computers and modern technology, it's still possible for a cop to fix a traffic ticket. Mayor Bloomberg, when asked about rumors of an upcoming scanda a few days ago, said it was almost impossible in New York City to fix a ticket. Apparently the mayor was wrong about that. Where there's a will, there's a way. This developing police scandal makes me wonder how prevalent this form of corruption is in other departments around the country.

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