From the Daily News:
An Inspector General probe found widespread misuse of police parking placards by lawmakers and other state officials, the Daily News has learned.
Inspector General Ellen Biben, who launched the probe at Gov. Cuomo's request, will call for major changes in the way the parking passes are distributed, a source close to the probe told The News.
Thousands of placards stating a vehicle is on "official police business" have been issued by the state Department of Homeland Security - but distributed throughout the government.
Some go to the state police - others to the Office of Court Administration.
But many wind up in the hands of lawmakers and state officials who are not in law enforcement - and have no reason to be on official police business.
According to sources, the parking cheats include:
- Sen. Jose Peralta (D-Queens), who told The News on Tuesday the placards were traditionally handed out as a courtesy to senators.
- Waterfront Commissioner Ronald Goldstock - caught by The News using the official police placard while teaching a class on corruption at New York University Law School.
- Two Division of Parole officials who were on long-term leave.
- The Department of Environmental Conservation for giving a placard to an unpaid rabbi - former state police rabbi Bernard Freilich.
Biben also found that some people gave the placards to friends.
From the NY Times:
Cuomo administration officials announced on Thursday that they would sharply reduce the number of police parking placards handed out each year in an effort to crack down on abuses by state officials.
The new policy would strip state lawmakers, commissioners and other nonpolice personnel of state parking placards bearing the words “Police Vehicle Identification,” hundreds of which had been handed out annually with little oversight, according to the state inspector general, and in some cases abused by the bearer.
The total number of police placards handed out would be cut from 1,730 last year to 261 this year. In the future, the officials said, the State Police would handle distribution of police placards, which will be assigned only to members of that agency and other state employees with statutory police powers, like investigators with the office of the attorney general or police officers working under the department of environmental conservation.