The NYPD is falsely claiming to have resolved complaints about placard abuse, while conducting little or no actual enforcement, city council leaders charged Tuesday.
The claims are based on an survey by the council’s oversight and investigations division, whose probers filed 50 complaints to the 311 system between May and July, then waited at each scene to evaluate NYPD’s response.
Police either failed to respond or drove or walked by the scene without taking an enforcement action nearly three-quarters of the time, the letter said. In 14 instances, cops never even showed up — but still marked the corresponding complaints “resolved,” according to a letter from council leaders, including Speaker Corey Johnson, to Police Commissioner Dermot Shea.
The letter further accused NYPD of reporting “implausibly fast” response times to 311 placard complaints — with thousands of parking permit-related service requests “resolved” in under five minutes.
“We are concerned that NYPD’s response time is, in some cases, implausibly fast given that it takes time to travel from one place to another in the city and given the findings of our field investigation thus far,” said the letter, which was signed by Johnson, Transportation Chair Ydanis Rodriguez and Oversight Chair Vanessa Gibson.
“A less-than-five minute response time does not lend itself to a thorough investigation of an illegal parking-related [service request],” the officials wrote.
Parking placards ostensibly exist to give municipal employees better access to curbside real estate when they’re on the job — but in reality, they are widely abused. City blocks are littered with government workers turning sidewalks, crosswalks, bike lanes, bus lanes and no-standing zones into parking spots.
Both Johnson and Mayor Bill de Blasio have both pushed initiatives to quell illegal permit use and placard fraud that appear to be floundering.
For the mayor, a number of reforms pitched in February 2019 have failed to come to fruition, including a pledge to switch the entire city over to a digital “pay-by-plate” parking system — designed to automatically register cars as legally or illegally parked — by the start of 2021.
Johnson’s letter Tuesday also accused NYPD of being in violation of Local Law 6/2020, which required the police department to conduct weekly site visits at 25 blocks impacted by placard abuse and 25 blocks known for other forms of illegal parking. The legislation required police officials to report monthly on the evaluations.
“These evaluations were to continue for six months starting on January 1, 2020,” the council members wrote. “We have received no reports from you, and our understanding is that, to date, NYPD has not performed any of the evaluations required by this law.”
Council members have asked NYPD for the names of all officers assigned to handle the 14 service requests allegedly falsified as “resolved,” along with an evidence that police actually responded to the complaints.
“With traffic fatalities at their highest point in nearly a decade, illegal parking violations must be taken seriously,” Johnson said in a statement. “That’s why the NYC Council Oversight and Investigations Division conducted its own field investigation, and why we are asking the NYPD to respond to specific incidents in which 311 complaints for placard abuse were apparently not responded to appropriately.”
NYPD spokeswoman Sgt. Jessica McRorie said, “We are in receipt of the letter and are currently reviewing it.”
Additional reporting by Craig McCarthy