Drivers get ticketed for using camera-blinding plate covers, so why is it okay for police to use them?
We here at CarBuzz have upmost respect for the men and women willing to don a badge and blue uniform each and every day and risk their lives to keep our streets safe, but that being said, sometimes the police need a bit of policing themselves. A recent investigation conducted by Inside Edition and reported by the New York Post claims to have found scores of NYPD officers that have installed illegal flash-reflecting plastic covers on their license plates.
These seemingly innocuous devices display license plate numbers to a human observer without impeding the view, but when a light is shined directly on the plastic surface, as in the case of passing a speed camera or toll booth camera that uses flash to get a better look, the cover reflects the light back and effectively blinds the camera to the numbers and letters behind. These are illegal for obvious reasons, but the fact that police have them adds a bit of irony to the situation. While not quite as sophisticated as a license plate covering device we recently saw in Florida, the fact that many of the officer's cars discovered had NYPD placards on their windows contributes to the stigma that police officers think they're above the law.
While this isn't as grave a moral offense as the fake Google Maps vehicle we saw the Philadelphia Police Department use recently, it still begs the question, how are everyday motorists supposed to take the law seriously if even those who enforce it think it's a joke? Meanwhile, news of the illegal license plate covers had found its way up the ladder. NYPD issued a memo in December telling its officers to remove the plate covers or face disciplinary actions such as losing vacation days. In total, Inside Edition found over 100 vehicles associated with police officers that had the illegal covers, showing that the problem extends to more than just a few bad apples.