New York police union cards, which officers give their friends and family as ‘get out of jail free’ cards for minor offenses, are selling on eBay for as much as $100 a pop and city authorities are fuming, the New York Post reports.
The union cards are meant to be used to prove that a police officer can vouch for another person, though holders often use them to get out of minor incidents like parking and speeding violations.
A New Yorker who shows one of the cards along with identification is indicating that he or she is either a cop or closely connected to one.
‘It’s a way for a police officer to vouch for another person,’ City Councilman Peter Vallone Jr. told the Post. ‘That type of recommendation shouldn’t be available to the highest bidder.’
Cards from the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association, Detectives’ Endowment Association, the Lieutenants Benevolent Association and the Sergeants Benevolent Association are also selling on the auction site at different price ranges.
The cards that represent officers of a higher rank are reportedly worth more because they carry more weight than a street patrolman’s card.
Some cards are priced as low as $10.
Police union leaders and elected officials say they want an investigation carried out and are looking for a way to stop the online card sales.
New York Republican Councilman Dan Halloran of Queens said he fears the cards could end up with terrorists or criminals.
‘Having the card in conjunction with a properly formatted wallet and a courtesy shield — that’s the problem,’ said Halloran, who serves on the city’s Public Safety Committee.
New York Democratic Councilman Dan Garodnick of Manhattan said he thinks the cards should be eliminated completely to avoid ethical breaches.
‘Our traffic laws should not be enforced with winks and nods,’ he told the Post. ‘I don’t know which is worse, the existence of a get-out-of-jail-free card or the fact that the cards are being hawked on the Internet.’