Dear Editor,

After the recent deadly wrong way on a one-way crash in Staten Island caused by a Linden, New Jersey Police Officer, who had a history of DUI arrests (one of which included him plowing his car into a grocery store, while allegedly hammered) it has come to the public's attention just how much bad behavior law enforcement gets away with in this state.

One area of police corruption and patronage that can be easily ended is the system of plastic Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) and Policeman's Benevolent Association (PBA) union supporter or police officer friend/family cards being used as a real life New Jersey monopoly style "get out of jail free card".

It must be made an indictable criminal offense for a person to display a police union card to an officer at the time of an encounter and a police officer should not be allowed to offer any special treatment to cardholders.

Far too often in this state, a plastic gold law enforcement supporters shield from the police union stuck in your car window and a FOP or PBA Family Member (or Police Chief's) card, signed by an officer with their cell phone number written on it as well, is a de facto license to commit a variety of traffic and disorderly persons (misdemeanor) offenses with impunity. Even indictable crimes (felonies) might be overlooked when the offender is found to have one of these cards. Maybe also having the black rectangle bumper sticker with the "thin blue line" will help additionally endear you to police?

Offering a police officer a FOP or PBA card has the same effect as offering a cash bribe. The legislature must act so that it is prohibited to promote transparency and fairness.

Eric Hafner
Toms River