NYPD officers prohibited from wearing NYPD logos

January 31, 2012 8:08:32 PM PST
Police Commissioner Ray Kelly is prohibiting his 35,000 officers and employees from wearing any clothing with the NYPD logo on it.

The police union is furious.

NYPD merchandise is the most popular of all in the t-shirt shops like the Grand Slam in Times Square.

NYPD shirts and hats are worn by tourists and residents, including, much to Police Commissioner Ray Kelly's chagrin, cops.

Apparently Commissioner Kelly saw an off-duty NYPD officer with an NYPD logoed shirt on, but it also said something the commissioner found offensive. It said, "Kill them all and let God sort them out."

That was not the message the commissioner was hoping for from his officers, so he had his lawyers draft some new rules.

And this is what they came up with, under "Conduct Prohibited: wearing any item of apparel which contains a department logo or shield by a member of service, uniformed or civilian, on or off duty."

So, the police commissioner apparently gets to decide what off-duty cops can wear.

"I think it's a quasi military organization, so the police commissioner has broad discretion on what to tell people to do on and off duty," said Prof. Eugene O'Donnel, of John Jay College.

The mayor backs up the commissioner.

The police officers union, has a far different reaction.

"It is a clear violation of the officers' free speech rights," the union said in a statement Tuesday, "and collective bargaining rights. Many private citizens proudly wear NYPD apparel, and police officers can't? The PBA believes the order is patently unlawful and we will defend our members' rights."

But, if they're looking for the courts to help, they may be disappointed.

"The courts have been pretty clear on this. If you are doing something off duty that is connected to the job, you have the symbols of the job, and you are doing something that discredits the agency, the agency has broad latitude," O'Donnel said.

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