This Week in Police Professionalism

Saturday, October 1st, 2011

More stories you couldn’t make up:

The Internet is full of license plate covers that claim to be able to help drivers avoid getting a red light or speed camera ticket.

According to New Orleans Police Superintendent Ronal Serpas, one of his high-ranking officers, Capt. Michael Glasser, had this type of distortion device on his police cruiser. Serpas took away his car, and the matter is now under review by the NOPD’s Public Integrity Bureau.

“No police officer has the right to violate the rules and the law and police supervisors are especially responsible for insuring that the officers follow the rules,” said Serpas.

According to Louisiana law, license plates “shall be maintained free from foreign materials and in a condition to be clearly legible.”
Glasser’s attorney Frank Desalvo said license plate covers are not illegal.

“I think the state law says if your license plate has to be visible from 50 feet away,” said Desalvo. “I think these things affect the visibility from a certain angle.”

Glasser’s case is particularly thorny because of the unit he commands.

He is the integrity control officer for the Special Operations Division, which also includes highway enforcement, the department that reviews red-light tickets.

“This inquiry is going to get to the bottom of it and it would be terribly troubling to us if a captain who was also responsible for insuring integrity had in fact broken our rules,” said Serpas.

I have no idea if the product Glasser uses it technically illegal under Louisiana law, but it would be interesting to see how many motorists Glasser’s unit has fined for using similar techniques to obscure their license plates from red light cameras. Bonus points: Glasser is president of the New Orleans police union. More bonus points to his lawyer for putting up the “everybody else is doing it” defense.

[Serpasj]  claims there are other police cars out there with illegal tint and improper license plates.

Think about that for a second. Glasser’s attorney is arguing that his client, a high-ranking cop, shouldn’t be disciplined for possibly violating the law because lots of other New Orleans cops also violate similar laws—laws that regular, non badge-wearing residents of New Orleans are expected to follow.

In related news, a Pennsylvania state liquor control officer was arrested over the weekend for DUI.

Digg it |  reddit |  del.icio.us |  Fark

18 Responses to “This Week in Police Professionalism”

  1. #1 |  Yizmo Gizmo | 

    “Think about that for a second. Glasser’s attorney is arguing that his client, a high-ranking cop, shouldn’t be disciplined for possibly violating the law because lots of other New Orleans cops also violate similar laws—laws that regular, non badge-wearing residents of New Orleans are expected to follow.”

    That’s the last straw. I gotta ge me a badge.

  2. #2 |  SJE | 

    What makes this even more galling is that it was on his police cruiser. If he wanted to go through a red light, he could turn on his flashing lights. If he was caught by a fellow cop, he would get professional courtesy. He can therefore escape the majority of red light tickets. Therefore I wonder if he is a really really bad driver.

    More likely it is some attempt to obscure review, such as citizens taking photos of his cruiser. There has to be more to this.

  3. #3 |  Mortimer Duke | 

    In case anybody’s wondering if these things actually work, just go to any Amazon.com page and check out the user comments on the effectiveness of the license plate covers. They’re a complete waste of money.

  4. #4 |  Murc | 

    @SJE: Seconded.

    Hell, for that matter, even if it were his civilian car… I dunno how it works in other states, but up here in New York there are little window stickers you can get if you’re a cop (or related to a cop.) The ostensible purpose of them is simply to show pride and solidarity; there are similar ones for organizations you can only join if you’re a fireman, an EMT, etc.

    But if you have one of them in your window, you have to basically do some Grand Theft Auto shit to get a ticket. And that’s on a civilian car, not even your cruiser. So man, this guy must REALLY suck at driving.

    Also, kudos to the Superintendent for actually disciplining the guy.

  5. #5 |  John C. Randolph | 

    Can’t obscure the plate? Ok, we’ll just switch to lasers that flood the camera sensor.

    -jcr

  6. #6 |  Maggie McNeill | 

    Ah, New Orleans. Though Serpas appears to be doing the right thing this time, he’s a first-magnitude sleazeball with a habit of playing sadistic games. For example, after the Louisiana legislature lowered the penalties for “crime against nature by solicitation” (in English, a prostitute offering oral sex) to a misdemeanor with no “sex offender” registration requirement, Serpas decided to blitz the streetwalkers so he could charge as many of them with the felony as possible before the lower penalties took effect. http://maggiemcneill.wordpress.com/2011/08/03/august-updates-part-one/ (third section).

  7. #7 |  SJE | 

    seconded Maggie.

    New Orleans is the same place where cops shot people on a bridge because they were black and trying to escape the city.

    NOLA: where a man was imprisoned on the basis of prosecutorial misconduct, gets released and sues. The AG fought and won, at the Supreme Court, to not pay the man because he couldnt prove that the entire department “knew” of the misconduct. That AG was Harry Connick Sr, father of the famous singer. Think of that next time someone wants to play Jr’s music. Makes me sick.

  8. #8 |  Bergman | 

    > Think about that for a second. Glasser’s attorney is arguing that his client,
    > a high-ranking cop, shouldn’t be disciplined for possibly violating the law
    > because lots of other New Orleans cops also violate similar laws—laws that
    > regular, non badge-wearing residents of New Orleans are expected to
    > follow.

    And doubly so because as the integrity officer, he’s one of the guys in charge of making sure other cops DON’T break the law. He’s basically claiming that it’s OK that he breaks the law, because he’s not doing his job and isn’t stopping the other cops from breaking the law.

  9. #9 |  Carl-Bear | 

    “The other cops are doing it.”

    Would those be the actual, physical cops, or the imaginary ones (whom, oddly enough, seemed to be on the actual physical payroll) NOLA claimed they made up to discourage crime by making it appear there were more cops on the t/a/k/e/ street?

  10. #10 |  Not Sure | 

    “That AG was Harry Connick Sr, father of the famous singer. Think of that next time someone wants to play Jr’s music.”

    What’s the son’s music got to do with the father’s assholiness?

  11. #11 |  Steamed McQueen | 

    @#9: Probably not a thing, but it has been said that Jr. is a bit of an asshole himself. Then again many musicians are so…

  12. #12 |  2nd of 3 | 

    Bonus bonus bonus: those covers are just about worthless. Mythbusters did a segment on it, check it out.

  13. #13 |  derfel cadarn | 

    Inspect all cruisers for any problems discipline ALL offenders as if the were merely mundane taxpayers. Because they are leos and their knowledge of the law should be extensive they should be held responsible at twice the going rate.

  14. #14 |  Fascist Nation | 

    I think the real question is has he ever pulled someone over for having one these photo enforcement camera license plate blockers on their vehicle…and ticketed and/or confiscated as “evidence” the “offending” device?

  15. #15 |  SJE | 

    #11: Jr and Sr are different people. However, if Jr is interested in his PR, he should go out his way to distinguish himself from his dad on this issue. So far, I have heard nothing. If the only way I can punish Sr is to boycott Jr., then that is what I will do. Its not like Jr goes to jail, but that I want nothing to do with the family.

  16. #16 |  CyniCAl | 

    More proof that State agents are a protected class in America, where all men are created equal but sharply diverge after creation.

  17. #17 |  Jess | 

    CORRECTION: it was Desalvo, not Serpasj, who excused Glasser because other officers were doing the same thing.

    I gotta say though, one would think that officers with access to as many red-light photos as they can stomach would have enough clue not to fall for the transparent plastic cover scam.

  18. #18 |  Carl | 

    Didn’t read the comment trail so shoot me for suggesting that there is more than one numerical identifier on a police vehicle that a traffic camera can spot.

Leave a Reply