Police Courtesy Cards

What’s the straight dope about these. Just learnt they exist, Are they really get out of jail free cards? Sounds so unfair.

I’ve never heard of them, specifically, but google tells me that there is such a thing. However, it’s not uncommon for officers to give a select few friends/family a business card with the instruction that if they get pulled over or arrested to ask the officer to call them and hand them the card. It’s not uncommon* for the officer you know to ‘fix’ the situation.

*The place that I work at has a lot of cops shopping there. I’ve seen two (possibly three) co-workers get out of speeding tickets by saying they were on their way to work there (and, yes, it was a ‘I love that place, okay, just this once’ type situation).
*My ex got out of a road race incident because she personally knew the officer that showed up.
*A friend got pulled over, probably should have been arrested, but dropped another cop’s name and that officer came and drove him home.
So, yeah, ‘courtesy cards’ may or may not be a thing, but knowing someone on the force can certainly help you out when it comes to a [minor] infraction.

ETA, they seem to be (or were) very common in New York. How they’re handled appears to be up to the officer. From what I see, they’re under no requirement to ‘honor them’.
And, every time I hear something like this, i remember an old Dragnet episode where someone was selling fake ones. NAIL (NALE?) cards, I think they called them. Don’t remember what it stood for.

They really do exist, at least in NYC. But from what I can tell "get out of jail free " is a exaggeration. Having one doesn’t mean you won’t get arrested for an assault or a DWI - but it might mean you don’t get a ticket for going 40 mph in a 30 mph zone.

National Association for Law Enforcement. As in, this here cardholder “is a friend of the National Association for Law Enforcement, and as a contributor to the Nale Widows and Orphans Fund is entitled to all courtesy and special privileges. You are hereby ordered to extend same to this friend of Nale.”

That’s actually kind of hilarious. I mean, a Sovereign Citizen with magic words that turn out not to work? Okay, sure, fine; but confidently handing a cop your receipt for what you thought was a bribe? That has to be an interesting conversation.

Yup that’s it. How I remember episodes of Dragnet that I watched when I was 10, I don’t know, but that’s it.

Something else I haven’t seen in a while is those little police badge decals on rear driver side windows (so the cop would see it). IIRC, I read one once and it either meant that your a cop or your husband is s cop or you donated money so the cops could have balls…I don’t remember exactly, but like all the other get out of jail free cards, it was clearly meant it imply that if the cops isn’t nice to you, you’ll tell on him.

There are a ton of things like that in various forms.

My oldest graduated last year. We received several letters saying she’d been selected for some sort of ‘National High School Achievement Society’ thing. The letters said it was prestigious and she could join for $75 and put it on her college applications and it would increase her ability to get a job and probably get her top quality dates and clear skin or something.

Then I noticed how many cars I saw had stickers from this group on them. Oy.

There’s one born every minute.

I was working Security at Tommies Hamburgers, the original one. I got pulled over for speeding, I said I was late for work there, and the cop let me go, and said “Say hello to my friends there!”. But I was only going like 10MPH over, so it wasnt like a big deal.

My father was a university professor for like thirty years and one of the classes he taught was attended by police officers (the university had programs in criminal justice, forensic sciences, etc). He was also something of a leadfoot, but on more than one occasion, the officer who stopped him recognized him from class and let him go without a ticket.

Now I’m sure I have met you.

When I was in college, my Friend’s dad was a cop. We got caught in a speed trap going about 80 mph but not driving recklessly in the left lane with little. This could have been reckless driving but my friend said something about the flow of traffic and the cop saw the card conveniently stuck to his driver’s license. He asked a few questions about the precinct his dad worked in and then asked if his dad knew he drove this fast. He let him off with a warning. His dad took away his car when we went back to his house that night. He had to move back home and take the bus to class.

Actually, that sounds like a bigger punishment than a speeding ticket.

Why can’t I find out anything about NALE or those NALE cards online?

I heard of a similar incident on NPR a few years back. Apparently people who donated $5000 or more to the Fraternal Order of Police (or something similar) got a fancy gold license plate frame as a “reward” and cops were letting people who had that frame get away with speeding. Then, of course, people started manufacturing “counterfeit” FOP license frames. I’m not sure what happened after that.

My guess is that the name was made up for *Dragnet *to avoid using the name of a real organization. Kind of like New Amsterdam is about Bellevue Hospital, Hudson University is used to represent any college on Law and Order shows , and I hear at least one show refer to a cable news station called ZNN.

I somehow missed the bit about it being on Dragnet. :smack:

well they used to back in the 40s-60s… because ive seen one the lady I used to work for had her fathers……

he was a well knowm matre’d in several la hotspots back in the day and was well known for being friendly with the lapd (to the point that one place that had problems with pickpockets and working girls hired him and they were nuisance free about 3 weeks later )
It was a card that said something like “if theres a problem call 555 212 and ask for -----”
he mainly used it for avoiding dwis since it wasn’t unusual for him to have an escort making sure he was home safe

In California, you drop a few thousand to the 11-99 foundation, get yourself a license plate frame, and you supposedly will find yourself with warnings instead of speeding tickets.

I have a friend who’s a cop in the town just north of here. He gave me a card. He had to sign it and put my name on it. I said it’s cool to have but I don’t drive through his town much so I don’t know if I’ll ever use it, but he said I can use it anywhere in the area cuz all the cops know each other.

I just got one last week from a friend who’s with the county Sherrif’s office tho. Woohoo!

Apparently they’re only supposed to be good for a year, and if you use one the officer who stops you is supposed to take the card and return it to the officer who gave it to you. But my guys tell me they don’t really expire and nobody usually takes them.

Oh also the officer who stops you doesn’t have to acknowledge/honor the card. It’s a courtesy if they do.

Unfortunately both of the guys who have given me cards are set to retire in the next year. So I dunno how much good these cards will do me. Maybe it’s time to try them out!

Let’s not forget the famous KMA367 license plate frames in LA

I think it’s a “scratch my back I’ll scratch yours situation” with the law enforcement folks. I’ll let yr guy off and of course you’ll do the same for my peeps.