A Lesson for the NYPD: Jersey Cop Gives Own Wife a Parking Ticket
With hundreds of cops ensnared in a massive NYPD ticket-fixing scandal, perhaps New York’s Finest can take a cue from a police chief just 10 miles from Manhattan.
Chief Vincent Caruso of Lodi, N.J., ordered his own wife to be ticketed for double-parking after one of his cops gave her a pass for double parking in front of their kids' school.
"I told the officer, flat out, that I wanted him to issue the ticket," Caruso told "On The Inside." "I am not above the law, my wife is not above the law and neither is anyone else."
Caruso explained that his city of 28,000 residents experiences traffic congestion in the morning and after school when parents drop off or pick up their children. Double parking at the schools is the primary culprit.
He said the town has five elementary schools, a high school and a middle school "and the streets were not made for all of this traffic and there are safety issues," he explained. Caruso put the town on notice and stationed cops outside the schools.
He was in his second-floor office Tuesday morning when one of cops came in. The officer said he was moving the double parkers, and, uh, one of them was the chief’s wife.
"I said, 'Give her a ticket,'" Caruso recalled.
The cop initially balked. He thought he had exercised proper discretion.
"But I told him flat out, 'I want you to issue the ticket,'" said the chief, a 25-year police veteran. "There is no reason why me, my wife or anyone should not get one."
Caruso called his wife to deliver the news. He said they have four children, all boys, ages 2, 4, 5, and 13. Every school day, his wife drops off two of their children at separate schools.
"She’s an amazing woman and takes care of everything," he said.
"She said she was running late and it was only for half a minute, but I told her that I did not want anyone saying that your are the chief’s wife and you cant get away without parking," Caruso said.
"I have tried to do the right thing and believe police officers have to be held to a different standard," he added, pointing out that he holds has established ethics training program for his department.
"She is not too happy with me right now," the chief added. "But she knew she was wrong and understood why I did it."
In fact, she was more upset that news got around her town about the slightly embarrassing ticket.
But it could have been worse.
Caruso said he went down the clerk’s office on the ground floor of his building Tuesday morning and paid the $64 fine. “She knew I had to pay it,” he concluded.
Caruso said he was aware of the stories about NYPD cops fixing tickets for fellow officers, relatives and friends by the hundreds.
What advice does he have for his brother officers?
"You should not jeopardize your pension and everything you worked hard for to take care of a $50 or $100 ticket," Caruso said. "And frankly, people should not even put you in that position."