Wednesday, January 24, 2018

“Get Out of Jail Free” Cards

By Alex Tabarrok

In the movies I’ve seen people who try to get out of a traffic ticket by telling the police officer they made a donation to the policeman’s ball, but those were comedies. I had no idea that not only does this exist there are official cards. In fact, the police in New York are livid that the number of cards is being limited:
The city’s police-officers union is cracking down on the number of “get out of jail free” courtesy cards distributed to cops to give to family and friends.
Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association boss Pat Lynch slashed the maximum number of cards that could be issued to current cops from 30 to 20, and to retirees from 20 to 10, sources told The Post.
The cards are often used to wiggle out of minor trouble such as speeding tickets, the theory being that presenting one suggests you know someone in the NYPD.
The rank and file is livid.
“They are treating active members like s–t, and retired members even worse than s–t,” griped an NYPD cop who retired on disability. “All the cops I spoke to were . . . very disappointed they couldn’t hand them out as Christmas gifts.”
A Christmas gift of institutionalized corruption.
Here’s another article on these cards which just gets all the more stunning.
First, there are tiers of cards. Silver cards are the highest honor given to citizens. It’s almost universally honored by officers, and can also help save money on insurance. Gold PBA cards are only given to police officers and their families. You’d be hard-pressed finding a cop who won’t honor a gold card.
Gold and silver cards! It gets better. You can buy these cards on eBay. Here’s a gold New Jersey card on sale for $114. A silver “family member” shield goes for $299. Some of these are probably fake. The gold and silver are rare but remember, cops get 20 to 30 regular cards so you can see why they might be upset at losing them.
The regular cards have become more common as NYC hires more police. The union may in fact be trying to bump up its monopoly profit by restricting supply.
Read the rest here.


  1. I said it for awhile there are three tiers of the justice system;

    Tier 1: Political and Enforcement class

    Tier 2: Entertainment class (celebrities, athletes, musicians,etc)

    Tier 3: Everyone else

  2. "I had no idea that not only does this exist there are official cards."

    In some places like Illinois it's worse than that. The state of Illinois issues specialty license plates that are only available to cops and their family members. There are other similar plates anyone can get which signify support of police charities. See:

    "A Christmas gift of institutionalized corruption"

    How is a system that is working as it is designed to work corrupt? This sort of socially determined discretion is how it is designed to work and how most people want it to work until it doesn't work in their favor.

  3. That's why I never respond when there's a call to honor first responders. I always wonder why some businesses let cops gets free stuff. I think most of the public don't know this kind of stuff goes on. Hell, most people don't know that cops have no legal responsibility to protect you!