New York Daily News

Feb. 1, 2012


 

Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly prohibits cops from wearing NYPD merchandise

Says officers can't wear souvenir shirts, caps

By Joe Kemp
NEW YORK DAILY NEWS

The NYPD really has turned into the fashion police.

A new order from Commissioner Raymond Kelly bans city cops from wearing merchandise emblazoned with the NYPD logo.

That has union officials fuming, saying the rule violates police officers' civil rights.

The interim order, issued Jan. 19 and "effective immediately," prohibits the city's 35,000 cops from wearing hats, T-shirts or anything else sporting the department's insignia that wasn't issued by the NYPD.

The rules says that "wearing any item of apparel which contains a department logo or shield or in any way identifies its wearer with the New York City Police Department unless approved by the Uniform and Equipment Review Committee prior to being worn by a member of the service, uniformed or civilian, on or off duty" is "prohibited conduct."

The order also "extends to the use of the department logo or shield in artistic or mural forms, in caricature or cartoon-like representation," according to the paperwork.

So, if cops wish to purchase any NYPD-stamped merchandise — which is sold at hundreds of souvenir shops around the city — they must have written permission to do so.

Pat Lynch, president of the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association, said that the order goes too far and threatens officers' constitutional rights.

"Telling police officers what images or objects he or she can own or wear in their private lives is a clear violation of the officers' free speech rights," Lynch said in a statement. "Many private citizens proudly wear NYPD apparel — and police officers can't? It makes no sense. The PBA believes the order is patently unlawful and we will defend our members' rights."

One police source confirmed that the new restrictions came on the heels of Kelly spotting an officer wearing a T-shirt with the NYPD logo and a controversial quote.

Although the order was recently issued, another police source said that the restrictions follow a long history of cops wearing controversial merchandise bearing the NYPD logo.

"This is nothing new," the source said. "I remember years ago some Brooklyn homicide guys got in trouble doing the same thing."

The source said the officers donned T-shirts with a picture of NYPD detectives standing over a dead body. Emblazoned on the shirts was the expression: "Brooklyn Homicide — Our Day Begins When Yours Ends."

NYPD brass had no immediate comment on the order, but Mayor Bloomberg weighed in, saying it was Kelly's call.

"He should set the standards. You can't have it both ways. PD, we say that they're on 24/7. When they're not officially at work ... they're still police officers and that's one of the things that enhances the safety in our city," he said. "And so they're not totally independent even when they're not on duty. ... I'll leave it to Ray."