It's a fairly good bet that you are relatively unfamiliar with the different hierarchical levels among New York's Traffic Enforcement Agents. In general, Level I agents are tasked with issuing summonses, Level II agents are tasked with directing traffic, Level III agents are tasked with towing motor vehicles and Level IV agents (also registered peace officers) are tasked with truck enforcement issues.
Back in April 2012, the commanding officer of the New York Police Department's Traffic Enforcement District issued an oral order that eliminated the ability of Level II agents to issue traffic violations, and instead mandated that they contact a supervisor or nearby patrol unit for assistance.
Specifically, the order was issued after the commanding officer discovered that a large number of Level II agents were leaving their assigned traffic directing duties in order to pursue and ticket those motorists who disobeyed their commands. This practice, he determined, was extremely unsafe as Level II agents do not carry guns and do not have partners.
Not surprisingly, the order was not well received among Traffic Enforcement Agents. In fact, their union -- the Communications Workers of America Local 1182 -- responded to the order by filing a complaint with the Board of Collective Bargaining.
The complaint alleged that 1) the NYPD failed to enter into negotiations to address the change, which is a "mandatory subject of collective bargaining" and 2) that the change itself actually endangers Level II agents as they are no longer able to protect themselves from traffic scofflaws.
The five-person Board, however, voted unanimously in favor of the NYPD, ruling that the prohibition against Level II agents issuing traffic violations did not have to be negotiated and that the union did not provide the "requisite specificity" regarding the safety threats to Level II agents.
As stated earlier, this doesn't mean motorists can simply ignore the commands of Level II agents directing traffic. Those that fail to abide by their directions can still be ticketed by either other agents or beat cops.
Stay tuned for more from our New York vehicle traffic law blog ...
If you have been issued a traffic violation, fight to keep your driving privileges and your insurance premiums as low as possible. Consider contacting an attorney who understands New York's confusing legal system, and who can help you evaluate your options and make the right decisions.
This post was provided for informational purposes only and is not to be construed as legal advice.
The New York Daily News, "Dodging bad drivers is not Traffic Enforcement Agents' cup of tea," Reuven Blau, Jan. 22, 2013