Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Tix-fix fuss is a witch hunt: Mayor Bloomberg, Kelly and the Bronx DA are abusing power

This case is an abuse of power from City Hall, 1 Police Plaza and the Bronx DA’s office.

Tuesday, November 8 2011, 2:49 AM

Police officers are seen outside the Bronx Courthouse where officers accused of ticket fixing were being arranged on Oct. 28, 2011.
Howard Simmons/New York Daily News

Police officers outside the Bronx Courthouse where police accused of ticket fixing were arranged on Oct. 28, 2011.

Yo, Mike, Yo, Ray, FIX THIS!

We have a city here with a bull’s-eye on its back, guns rampant on the streets again, homicides on the rise and serial sex attackers stalking Brownstone Brooklyn.

And now our cops who start at 38K a year as our first line of defense against the really bad guys who want to blow us up again are further demoralized by making it a crime to squash a parking ticket for Aunt Mary?

Are Bloomberg and Kelly going nuts? Is Bronx DA Robert Johnson desperate for headlines?

C’mon, guys, FIX THIS!

Put me at the front of the line to cheer when we bust dirty cops who truly abuse power in this city. I covered the 77th Precinct scandals, the Dirty 30 and the Mafia Cops trial. Those dirty cops deserved to make the license plates that good cops scribble on parking tickets.

Last week in Brooklyn, Detective Jason Arbeeny was convicted of “flaking,” or planting drugs on an innocent man. He should get the max for his crimes and then do the time the poor innocent guy was gonna do so Arbeeny never forgets what it’s like for a human being to live in a cage.

If they convict the 68th Precinct cops busted for smuggling guns into this city that might’ve been used on fellow cops, they should also max out.

The Mafia Cops should never see another sunrise.

And forget 10 days of lost vacation for Deputy Inspector Anthony Bologna, who pepper-sprayed those defenseless Occupy Wall Street women but who probably couldn’t beat my daughter in a Brooklyn “fair-one.” He should be reassigned to clean Porta-Potties in Zuccotti Park.

But when 16 cops are arrested like common skells for squashing traffic tickets, receiving more negative official comment than some of the real aforementioned abuses, the system is broken.

FIX THIS, fellas.

When I was growing up in pre-yuppie Brooklyn, a neighborhood guy became a cop to help people, for job security, a 20-year pension and a shot at a 30-year mortgage. No one became a cop to get rich. You didn’t get to play center field for the Yankees but you got to wear the uniform of the best police force in the world.

Sure, a few will always rent their badges for profit. They are called crooks, or “skells,” who should do hard time.

But one of the benefits of The Job, like riding the subway free, was always the unwritten courtesy of squashing a ticket.

“If you do it for family or friends it’s a favor,” a retired NYPD lieutenant tells me. “If you make money doing it, you deserve to be arrested, but it’s a disgrace that they’re arresting these cops. It’s why so many good cops are retiring as soon as they have their 20 in. Morale sucks. I miss The Job; I don’t miss the petty BS.”

Every job has its perks. Back in the day, before my time, we had a guy named Vinny Lee at the Daily News who was the unofficial Assistant Editor in Charge of Tickets. If a reporter got a ticket, Vinny called Police HQ and it vanished like Jimmy Hoffa.

My brother Pete tells me the same thing was true over at the Post. So let’s stop with the hypocrisy in the press.

Same with the mayor and the police commissioner. They can deny it till their meter expires but everyone knows there’s a ticket quota in every precinct. I knew a “summons cop” named Keogh at the 111th Precinct in Bayside, Queens, whose commanding officer let him pick his own hours because he was a one-man ticket blitz who helped make the precinct quota every month. Keogh told me his best stop on the job was “a Korean church van where I wrote 12 seat belt tickets.”

It’s okay for NYPD to force cops to collect this secret tax for the Sheriff of Nottingham but if a cop squashes a ticket for his cousin he’s a skell?

Nah.

This case is an abuse of power from City Hall, 1 Police Plaza and the Bronx DA’s office.

Since the Tix Fix 16 were arraigned, cops have pulled an understandable ticket-writing slowdown, costing our broke city revenue. Add in the cost of the three-year Bronx probe, Internal Affairs wiretaps, a prolonged grand jury session and now adjudicating 16 cops in a city with a $4.6 billion deficit and you could hire, um, some more good cops.

Preposterous. Counterintuitive. Morale killer.

FIX THIS.

dhamill@nydailynews.com

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