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New York top cop bans police force from sporting NYPD merchandise

New York, Wed, 01 Feb 2012 ANI

New York, Feb 1 (ANI): New York Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly has passed an order banning policemen from wearing unauthorised NYPD merchandise.


The interim order, issued January 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.


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


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," the New York Daily News quoted Lynch as saying 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," the statement said.


Although the NYPD brass had no immediate comment on the order, 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," he added. (ANI)


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