The NYPD has somehow managed to piss off one of its most loyal constituencies by demanding that clubs made up of its own retired officers across the country stop using the department logo (as we do at right), the Voice has learned.
In a curt letter sent to so-called 10-13 clubs from Arizona to Florida, the NYPD threatens to charge clubs with a crime, slap them with a violation of city law or sue them for reproducing the logo.
The clubs use the official NYPD logo on t-shirts and membership cards, and have been doing so for more than 30 years, says Gary Rosen, president of the 400-member Northeast Florida 10-13 Club. In all, there are about 15,000 former NYPD cops in the 22 10-13 associations.
In order to spread the word, the department assigned the lieutenant in charge of the Police Impersonation Investigative Unit in Internal Affairs to call every 10-13 club in the country. He makes $99,000 a year just on salary. Police Commissioner Ray Kelly’s subordinates also assigned Assistant Commissioner Debra Zoland, who makes $130,000 a year, to write threatening letters to all the clubs.
Richard Stone, president of Arizona’s 10-13 association, was infuriated by the NYPD’s demand. He was a city cop for 14 years.
“You can take your cease and desist letter and shove it where the sun don’t shine,” Stone wrote to Lt. John McGovern of the NYPD’s Police Impersonation Investigative Unit in a June 25 letter.
Earlier in the letter, Stone notes that his organization, which has more than 100 former NYPD members, is non-profit and does not sell the shirts to non-members. He notes that the department asks them to be ready to volunteer in the case of another big disaster like 9/11, and yet it wants people who served the city for much of their lives not to use the logo.
“Our members have over 1,000 years of service to the city,” Stone writes. “We have earned the right to use these logos and patches.”
Stone also noted that some of his members went to New York to volunteer at Ground Zero, and sustained injuries and illnesses from that work.
“We have no political agenda,” Stone says. “We’re nothing other than a social club. Some of our members are sick and dying because they went to Ground Zero and this is the thanks they get? I can’t imagine how much money the NYPD has spent on this. It seems like a huge waste of resources. Wouldn’t you be embarrassed at having to make these calls?”
Rosen, meanwhile, was the first club president contacted by Internal Affairs. He served 17 years, retiring as a detective. “They told me I had to cease and desist using the shield and the patch,” he says. “I met with my board and we decided to take them on. We’ll fight them all the way on it.”
“Ray Kelly is forgetting he was a cop, he’s turned into a politician,” Rosen adds.
Another member of the Florida contingent, Milt Williams, who retired a sergeant, was also offended by the demand. “I’m very surprised that it’s an issue after all these years,” he says. “I don’t see the harm. I spent 34 years in the department, and it appears they want to disassociate us from the NYPD.”
We should point out that Mayor Bloomberg himself used the NYPD logo in one of his campaign advertisements, along with a police vehicle and two off-duty cops in uniforms very close to identical to the official uniform.
The story gets more intriguing when one considers why the department is using its resources to make such a minor point. One rumor claims that Kelly is trying to get back at cops who post critical comments about him on a widely read electronic bulletin board.
Another theory states that someone was selling 10-13 membership cards on E-Bay. Stone says even if that were true, the cards have no actual value. “They don’t get you a free anything,” he says.
A third theory says that there was a fundraiser in Florida and the organizers used the logo on the fliers. That rumor doesn’t make a lot of sense because every time there’s a retirement party or a fundraiser for cops here, the logo is used on the fliers.
So what does the PD say about this? Well, Internal Affairs Lt. John McGovern declined comment. Zoland was on vacation and unavailable. And emails to Deputy Commissioner Paul Browne, Kelly’s spokesman, were not returned.
With the club refusing to comply with the demand, the ball is now in Kelly’s court.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on July 14, 2009