Officers Banned From Wearing NYPD-Logoed Items
February 7, 2012
New York City
police officers are no longer allowed to wear NYPD-branded items while off-duty
unless they receive special permission, according to a recently-updated patrol
guide rule. The ban applies to T-shirts, hats, pins and jewelry, and also
restricts the city's 35,000 officers from purchasing NYPD-logoed
products like pens, coins and mugs. "The department wants to deter the
unprofessional appearance associated with unauthorized police-related logos and
slogans," said Paul Browne, an NYPD spokesman, in a statement.
Per multiple reports, the policy change was made after NYPD
Commissioner Ray Kelly saw a police officer wearing an offensive T-shirt with
the NYPD logo on it. Kelly has not commented publicly on the new order, but it
appears the decision was made because there have been related incidents in the
past. The New York Daily News has reported NYPD officers were once caught
wearing T-shirts with a picture of city detectives standing over a dead body.
On the shirts were the words: "Brooklyn Homicide – Our Day Begins When
Pat Lynch, president of the Patrolmen's Benevolent
Association, has been openly critical of the rule change. "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, possibly other
Constitutional rights and collective-bargaining rights," said Lynch.
"Many private citizens proudly wear NYPD apparel and police officers
can't? It makes no sense."
Speaking at a news conference, New York Mayor Michael
Bloomberg defended the rule. "We say that they're on 24/7 when they are
not officially at work," he said. "At home they're still police
officers, and that's one of the things that enhances the safety of our city,
one of the reasons they have permits to carry guns. And so they're not totally
independent even when they are not on duty.