There’s a new scandal about to erupt with the New York Police Department and it promises to be one “that the city has not felt in decades”. A long running investigation has resulted in thousands of recorded phone calls that have many New York City police boroughs very concerned. These concerns are warranted, if reports are true. It could also mean New York City’s financial woes are about to get worse if the city must hire hundreds of new police officers and then shoulder the costs to properly train them.
The scandal involves a ticket fixing racket that goes as far back as late 2007 and it’s believed ten current law officers will be arrested while others put those numbers closer to thirty in the first sweep. Fox News reported the number in that initial sweep could actually be closer to 400 law enforcement officers. It’s believed many of those in the federal crosshairs include officers that are closely intertwined with New York City’s Patrolman’s Benevolent Association and some sources are going so far as to say there are officers who’ve been with the department for years and are now very concerned that their retirement and pensions could be jeopardized. It’s also been leaked that close to two dozen officers who were, up until recently, planning their retirements but who now must put those plans on hold. Those retirement plans will not be approved until the investigation and any subsequent legal events are concluded. There’s more at stake, though. It’s a criminal investigation, meaning some could be facing criminal charges. Among the words being whispered include bribery, perjury and tampering with official records.
Most recently, every borough has been warned to prepare for what’s being called a “massive case”. Currently, that “massive case” is being maintained in a Bronx district attorney’s office, but is expected to begin trickling down to other district attorneys.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg is watching this case closely, especially considering warnings of several hundred police officers facing some type of internal disciplinary action. Many of these cases will first be put before a grand jury and depending on the outcome, if they are no-billed, Internal Affairs will take over and oversee any internal measures that are applicable. It’s believed the case has been ongoing for more than a year.
The investigation was initially triggered when undercover cops had tapped phones in one neighborhood as part of a drug case they were investigating. A barber shop owner was recorded in a conversation with his son, who’s an NYPD officer, and was heard asking him if he can “fix” a ticket. The district attorney in the Bronx, Robert Johnson, was notified and before long, evidence was being collected on a daily basis. Some officers agreed to make their friends’ tickets “go away”, but demanded money to do so. Other city cops agreed to not appear in court, which meant an instant dismissal of the charges against the defendant. Other times, officers simply transposed numbers when they entered licensing and tag information into the system. This meant, of course, the error would result in the city not being able to move forward and collect the fines.
But why now? After all, cops in cities across the nation are often extended a degree of latitude and can often do a favor for a family member or friend. It’s just unheard of for this high number of tickets to just disappear. There’s been no word yet on how much these favors have cost the city in lost revenue, but if this plays out the way many are hinting, it could mean a major toll on the city. Where’s Lennie Briscoe and Jack McCoy when you need them?