Off-duty police officers continue to park illegally. Now the problem is occurring in Co-op City.
At the Community Board 10 meeting held on Wednesday, September 15, several members of the board spoke out about an increasing number of off-duty police officers seen parking their vehicles in front of fire hydrants and in residential or no-parking zones in Co-op City and Pelham Bay.
According to residents, the off-duty officers are parking and placing up placards on their windshields identifying them as police officers. The placards are only supposed to be used while officers are on duty or during emergency situations.
“Cops don’t want to give other cops tickets,” said one Co-op City resident who declined to give a name. “What they are doing is abusing their privilege and parking illegally in front of homes, or in front of signs that say no parking, or just double parking people for their own convenience.”
The unnamed resident said that sometimes the cars are parked illegally for several days at a time. He said it is slowly becoming a major inconvenience for residents as they go about their daily routines.
According to 45th Precinct Community Council vice president, Bob Bieder, the problem has been an ongoing nuisance for several years, and has affected neighborhoods throughout the borough.
“Placards in general, and in Co-op City, have a history. Anybody who thinks they can get away with it will do it. It’s something we’ve been hearing about for years,” Bieder said. “Those placards are meant for emergency situations, but everybody who has one thinks they can park wherever they want, whenever they want.”
Although he could not confirm that the precinct is looking into the Co-op City issue, Bieder feels the problem will likely die down for a while as residents begin to complain. But then ,he predicted, illegal parking will pick up again after complaints from the public die down.
“It’s one of those things that is kind of cyclical,” he said. “There seems to be no real enforcement of the policy, which should be coming from the office of the Mayor.”
Although calls and messages left to the 45th Precinct, which covers Co-op City and Pelham Bay, were not returned by Monday, the unidentified Co-op City resident said that after filing complaints the precinct informed him that the bureau of internal affairs has begun looking into the problem.
“Anytime someone starts abusing their privileges, it makes the agency look bad,” Beider said. “It seems like a small thing, and a lot will tell you that the police do a good job, which they do. But basically the ones parking illegally are screwing their neighbors.”