NYPD Undercover Taxi Cruiser

Very sneaky:

According to the blog of a New York City taxi driver:

These “taxis” are used as undercover cars in general police work. You may see them cruising the streets as you would a regular patrol car or perhaps pulling over a motorist (they’re equipped with flashing lights and sirens) who ran a red light or something. The cops are in plain clothes, not uniforms. I would guess there are about 20 of these cars in the city. I see them every day.

Plain clothes, not uniforms?  Yea for “general” police work I don’t like the idea of that at all.

My personal opinion is that police as a deterrent is in the end more effective then being all sneaky and catching people doing things they definitely wouldn’t have done if they knew police were in the area.

What do you guys think?

Hat tip: Bryan



bigghoss September 22, 2011 at 12:14 am

they do need to serve as a deterrent first, but then again if you’re not doing anything wrong it doesn’t matter. if it could get people to stop driving like asshats I’d be all for it.

ozwald September 22, 2011 at 12:18 am

it doesn’t matter if you aren’t actually doing something wrong. we’re all just one small measure from being hassled by some pig who feels the need to assert his alphaness. now pick up that can, citizen.

Poppy September 22, 2011 at 01:29 am

Lol, Half-Life 2 reference.

If a cop does that from me imma take a page from “The Freeman’s Guide to Silent Badassery” and throwing it right back in his face.

Legacy September 23, 2011 at 01:16 pm

Then crowbar his ass shortly after that.

RWC September 22, 2011 at 08:12 am
Punish3r September 22, 2011 at 12:44 am

Ok so this just makes speeders slow down for taxi’s too lol. Then they look ok no taxi’s or cop cars….. vroooomm

Punish3r September 22, 2011 at 12:46 am

Also its hard enough to get a taxi in new york with out having to hail a cop taxi just to be told Im not a real taxi.

MattK September 22, 2011 at 12:49 am

Awesome, do more of this NYPD. Show LA how it’s done.

Poppy September 22, 2011 at 01:27 am

I prefer the sneaky cops. People will be more likely to commit crimes in front of ’em, which I believe is a good thing. When you use the police as a visible deterrent, you only serve to curb bad behavior like reckless driving and the such when the evildoers are in the presence of the fuzz. They’ll just stop whatever they’re doing when they see a cop and continue somewhere else (kinda like how everyone slows down on the highway when they see a patrol car parked on the curb). Whereas had the evildoers been arrested they’d be unable to continue to break the law AND would (probably) be less likely to commit the crime in the future. Of course this only works if the bad guys see the cops first and not vice versa.

However, with sneaky cops you can control the masses of speeding, reckless driving douche-bags through fear. Anyone could be a cop, so you better be on your best behavior all the time. They can catch the bad guys even if they ’em you first, because they’re incognito. You want to catch guys in the act, that seems like the general purpose here. It’s pretty much the same reason as to why we have undercover cops.

RWC September 22, 2011 at 08:17 am

However, with sneaky cops you can control the masses of speeding, reckless driving douche-bags through fear. Anyone could be a cop, so you better be on your best behavior all the time.

I vote for speed cameras on every corner and a GPS system which tracks your rate of speed in every car. That way no one can escape justice. Also we should have dash and side mounted cameras to make sure we come to a complete stop at a stop sign. Maybe a personal GPS on your person as well to curb loitering. Spend too much time in one place and get a ticket. Awesome idea.

What-do-I-know-anyway? September 22, 2011 at 12:29 pm

Don’t worry, in a few years they’ll have RFID tags on your license plate tags so they can tax you on your driving too! Going too fast? Yea, we have a tax for that… using the express lane, we have a tax for that too!

Oh, and don’t forget about identity theft… and who’s to say somebody doesn’t borrow your car?

Your awesome idea just gives my government more power… yea, awesome idea…

What-do-I-know-anyway? September 22, 2011 at 12:31 pm

On second thought, I think you were sarcastic… whoops

032125 September 22, 2011 at 01:57 am

Free societies have no need of secret police.

GD September 22, 2011 at 06:25 am

Hidden patrols on the road (either unmarked cars, or just sitting behind cover) are not about law enforcement, they are about revenue generation. Period.

Art September 22, 2011 at 08:26 am

No Like.
Stealth cars are one thing … but no uniforms even?
Seems to me that “imposters” would love this … Once the population no longer has a clear idea who is the real police, how hard is it to shake someone down posing as a cop?

mlk18 September 22, 2011 at 08:46 am

Awesome. I am all for it. Marked cars are akin to your Mom watching you on the playground. You would never do a flip off the monkey bars in front of Mom. But if she sends you to the park alone the skies the limit. If you observe the law and live as an American should, you need not fear the undercover taxi police. Next we need some undercover police pizza delivery vehicles!

RWC September 22, 2011 at 09:10 am

And unmarked cars are akin to your mom hiding in the bushes waiting for you to spit on the sidewalk or light a firecracker.

No thanks.

Frank September 22, 2011 at 09:28 am

RWC, I agree with you.

How am I supposed to know if it’s a cop or not?
It’s no different than this, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BHjjF55M8JQ
If you watch it four solid seconds pass by before we hear, “state police.”
4 seconds is a long time.

If I wanted Nazi Germany I would build a time machine, thankfully I don’t want or need that. This article just reinforces my belief that NY is just as questionable as Thai hookers without teeth.

mlk18 September 22, 2011 at 10:12 am

I am guessing the badge and id card should help you figure that out. Not to mention there is almost always a marked car sitting around the corner waiting to pounce when the unmarked jumps into action. Police have been using unmarked Crown Vics for decades and those are readily available to the general public, how is that any different?

As far as lighting firecrackers or spitting on the sidewalk goes, don’t roll the dice if you are not willing to lose your cash. Mom never jumps out of the bush if you don’t do anything wrong.

Frank September 22, 2011 at 11:02 am

“The cops are in plain clothes, not uniforms.”
^This is just wrong on some many levels. I would NOT trust someone who claims to be a cop until they provide ID. Assuming they’ll actually provide it or it’s visible. Just as I provided link wise, look at that plain clothes state trooper. There is only a short glimpse of his badge.

Unmarked crown vics versus taxis is totally different. Do you compare apples to oranges as well?

To answer your question, it’s different because of plates, and whether or not someone is uniformed. If they are uniformed most states have statutes for people who think it’s fun to impersonate an officer.

It’s one thing if cops stake something out or camp behind a billboard, but for them to turn into secret police to bait people is different. They want to lower crime, they need to be seen AS police, not gestapo. Do you go to janitors in hospitals for medical attention, just because they wear similar clothes to doctor’s in some cases?

Yes, this is NYPD we’re talking about, but some of us live in areas where police could be on their own, and regardless of where you are at in the world at some point there WILL NOT be “a marked car sitting around the corner waiting”.

Would a taxi be effective? I’m sure it would be, some people here already present some good ideas.

If they can look like us on our dime, then why can’t we look and dress like police to deter crime when they aren’t around? Double-standards on our money is never tolerable in my opinion. I’ll support this kind of work when the FOPA 1986, NFA, and GCA of 1968 are repealed.

mlk18 September 22, 2011 at 01:26 pm

Somehow I find a taxi driving cop in plain clothes with a badge and an ID card very dissimilar to the Gestapo. The same way I don’t see a mall security guard hassling a kid over a skateboard to be the same as a tower guard at Auschwitz. While I will vehemently defend your right to be free and disagree with the government trampling on any of us, I want the police to use any reasonable tactic available to them to reduce crime and protect me and mine. Criminals are getting smarter and more sophisticated, the cops have to keep up.

By the way most unmarked police cars (at least in my area) display civilian license plates.

Frank September 22, 2011 at 01:52 pm

If the badge and ID are NOT visible during a traffic stop, then what?
Because if they’re plain clothes, and (still) human, there is the potential for making a mistake and forgetting to reveal it.

On top of that, would I penalized if I asked for his or her clothed sergeant to come up and explain to me that “Yes that taxi driver is a real officer.”?

Aren’t there more pressing crimes like drugs and violence?

Critter September 22, 2011 at 10:48 am

unmarked operations are very effective (depending on what one wants to accomplish) if completely thought out. it’s really a sort of camoflage if one thinks about it, so yellow taxis in NY are just the thing. the best way to use these, in my view, is simply as observation platforms, not jump out cars. the “taxi” observes something and calls it in to the marked units who then make the stop. the bad guuys will figure it out soon enough, but now they have to be nervous around all the taxis as they don’t know which ones are police and which are not, so it works as a deterrent as well. better to let the uniforms do the actual stop, where there is no question of who is who, and the “taxi” can slide back into traffic like nothing happened…

ExurbanKevin September 22, 2011 at 10:56 am

I guess someone at the NYPD watched the old Billy Crystal / Gregory Hines movie “Running Scared” and thought “Hmmmmmn, not a bad idea…”.

AWOL-SCOUT September 22, 2011 at 11:33 am

Former cop, loved the job. I have always thought a health cat-and-mouse dynamic is what keeps everyone in check instead of absolute enforcement (i.e. we shouldn’t all have speed monitors on our cars that ding us everytime we go 1 mph over the limit). But, these cars aren’t illegal and aren’t wrong, same as plain clothes enforcement isn’t. Seems a waste for them to be pulling traffic code enforcement when they could really be leveraged to snag bigger criminals. At the heart of it, the objections voiced here come from frustration that the potential to get caught would go up. Yeah, it sucks to get caught, but if cops weren’t out there everyday bringing some order to things, chaos really would ensue, and all those people who get hacked off at getting busted for rolling through the stop or getting pinched for 12 over the limit would be screaming for more cops, more creativity and more crack down to settle things out. That is just how I see it.

Emmon September 22, 2011 at 11:49 am

People should have a little more appreciation for law enforcement. +1

032125 September 22, 2011 at 03:57 pm

Countries that avoid foreign entanglements, respect personal freedoms and uphold property rights have absolutely no use for secret police. Countries that engage in foreign military adventures provoke blowback, and thus need “Homeland Security” (read: Stasi). Nations that violate private behavior must enter private spaces to do so, and thus need the DEA/BATF (read: Mutaween).

I was also a cop (MP) and I say again; a free society has no need for secret police. I didn’t like it then, and I loathe it now. You may delude yourself into thinking that you are the good guys, but this is wrong.

Steve September 22, 2011 at 06:11 pm

Very good point 032125.

@AWOL-SCOUT, My first reaction to a man jumping out of his car, running at me, and pulling his gun would be to go for cover and pull my own. Make that a uniformed peace officer and my reaction becomes completely different. Even if he was waving a badge

I can understand camouflaging the vehicles for large crime surveillance, but I fail to see how the gains out weight the negatives of non-uniformed cops cashing down petty moving violations.

When it comes to law enforce, as a citizen having never been a cop, I demand a definite and easily recognizable line. Men in all different sets of clothes running around insisting they are cops can only beget confusion and the muddying of defined lines.

Steve September 22, 2011 at 06:15 pm

Edit: My natural reaction to the first man would be the same even if he’s waving a badge. Those badges are just to easy to forge and it’s just not something that’s normal or expected when it comes to a peace officer.

The Stig September 24, 2011 at 09:54 pm

In fact, the NYTimes wrote an article about the fact that many NYPD cops use fake badges. Losing a badge is a big issue, and can cost an officer as much as ten days pay, so they often have fake ones made, called ‘dupes.’ These are the ones they routinely carry and use while the real issued badge sits locked away safe until they retire.

So yes, fake badges abound.


032125 September 22, 2011 at 08:36 pm

Someone agreed with me? Holy shit! Quick Mike, check my URL and make sure I’m not agreeing with myself!

ENDO-Mike September 22, 2011 at 11:50 pm

haha it’s your lucky day!

Andrew Lane September 22, 2011 at 11:45 am

I have spent the last 3 years living in NYC. These taxi cops do not perform routine enforcement, they are pretty much on used at times square and lower Manhattan to respond quickly to public disruptions. Obviously they are intended for homeland security purposes.

Ben September 22, 2011 at 04:59 pm

They are used for routine enforcement. A lot of precincts have them, some, not even adjacent to the precincts that do cover Times Square, and lower Manhattan, have more than one. They are not intended for homeland security purposes, and have existed as a tool for the police well before 9/11 and the introduction of homeland security as a concept and a term.

What-do-I-know-anyway? September 22, 2011 at 12:36 pm

So what’s stopping a current taxi driver from claiming to be a cop and taking advantage of some defenseless woman who thinks he’s a cop? By the time you had a chance to check out their badge and be convinced they are legit (can’t be too hard to produce a fake ID/badge either) it’s too late for your little sister…

Sid September 22, 2011 at 12:56 pm

But if I jump in the back of one of the taxi-patrol cars and give them directions, I damn well better not miss my flight. They better turn on the flashing lights and blow through the intersections. If not, no tip or donut.

Luke September 22, 2011 at 02:45 pm

If that taxi were a regular cruiser, the criminal would just wait for it to pass before committing whatever crime. I think by being sneaky, it allows them to be more effective by making sure the criminals cannot keep tabs on the cops. Decreasing criminal awareness = good.

Additionally, it would be a wise idea to make this information public. Think of the deterrent effect it would have assuming every NYC taxi could be a cop!

Frank September 22, 2011 at 02:54 pm

So if crimes goes down and the correlation between the police taxis and crime lowering is proven, then would there be consideration to reduce or remove police taxis at some point? I think not.

Luke September 22, 2011 at 04:00 pm

If there is a correlation between police taxis and crime lowering, why would you want to remove them? I’m lost…

Frank September 22, 2011 at 04:45 pm

If you stop driving a car, should you still pay for insurance?
Same thing applies. Crime goes down, remove them at some point (the cabs that is). And if crime goes back up due to a large enough absence, bring it back if demanded by the public.

Luke September 23, 2011 at 02:46 am

The cops are going to either be driving a marked car or the undercover taxi…I don’t see any saving in not driving the taxi.

Terriligunn September 22, 2011 at 03:47 pm

Okay I like the idea of making them look like taxis, and for undercover no uniform is A okay. No uniform on traffic stops, um…..There better be something to tell me this is a cop somehow or else I’m getting nervous here. We’ve already seen thugs impersonating police in home invasions, and pulling people over. This doesn’t seem like the best way to have people know who to believe is a cop, Im pretty sure this could turn bad some how.

AL September 22, 2011 at 03:50 pm

NYPD hwy patrol uses a taxi but they wear uniforms.. at night you cant tell until they get out of the car…they work the hwy in a yellow taxi with a camera on the windshield and back window….they usually go after the reckless drivers at night doing 100 plus mph…70% of the arrest are for former criminals ….if you are doing nothing wrong you have nothing to worry about…from thursday night on drinking and driving is a problem .i wish there where more taxis with cops in them….some of the anti cop post on here are obviously spoiled adults that hate to be told what to do but will be the first one to call the cops when help is needed….stop hating….

mbirch September 22, 2011 at 04:18 pm

Precinct Anti-Crime plain clothes officers use these cars. They are patrolling hoping to catch people in the act of committing crimes. They will also ‘stake out’ locations if they hear that something may go down. My local precinct in Manhattan had one of these cars out on patrol every night in the business district.

Notice the license plate is a Taxi and Limousine Comission “T123456789” plate instead of a 4 digit Taxi cab number plate. There will generally be two officers in the car.

Something like 1 out of 3 cars in Manhattan are taxi cabs. They hide in plain sight very nicely.

The Stig September 24, 2011 at 09:59 pm

Nothing stands out more than a parked taxi cab. They only make money moving, and most are not owned by the drivers, so those cars are handed off to someone else at the end of a shift, who keeps on driving it through the night.

kevin September 22, 2011 at 04:28 pm

Why is it everyone says that they need “taxi cab” cops because everyone is speeding at 100 mph or driving crazy.
Where is this really happening? I’ve never seen drivers like this, even on the freeway.
If they are police, then drive a police car and be in a uniform.
What’s next? UPS trucks? Fed EX trucks? Semi-trucks? Post Office mail trucks? Why do they need to be so secret?
Jusr another way to fill out their ticket books.

Robert September 22, 2011 at 10:20 pm

I think the police department should actually spread the word about under cover taxis so that criminals are always watching their backs. This would sort of work in the same way that CCW does.

ThatGuy September 22, 2011 at 10:46 pm

This sounds like a good way to get a cop shot.

Seriously, it’s midnight night and a taxi cab is trying to pull me over with a guy in plain clothes inside? No way in fucking hell I’m going to stop for that.

Rignerd September 22, 2011 at 11:29 pm

Easy way to get shot or run over. Jump out of a taxi in plain clothes and try to detain me. Yeah, I have a very sincere badge too, mine says “Foam Rangers” I’ll just sit here with my .45 while you show me yours. It might work well in NYC where the victims are obedient, but in free states it is a bad idea.
I am a veteran and a very lawful citizen. I don’t fear, hate or distrust the authorities, but they have to prove that they are really authorities BEFORE they make me compromise my safety.

non-driver May 31, 2013 at 09:31 am

Never talk to the police; any one worth his weight in salt will always tell you this because “anything you say will be used against YOU”, period. End of case. Tell them nothing, give them nothing, avoid a fight, they will shoot you kwick for the kill, dead people have no rights. They are then considered private property. We need oour veterans at home to protect us from them, period.

non-driver May 31, 2013 at 10:20 am

By the way. FYI: the statutory definition of driver:

What is DRIVER?
One employed in conducting a coach, carriage, wagon, or other vehicle,with horses, mules, or other animals, or a bicycle, tricycle, or motor car, though not astreet railroad car. See Davis v. Petrinovich, 112 Ala. 654, 21 South. 344, 36 L. R. A.615; Gen. St. Conn. 1902,
Law Dictionary: What is DRIVER? definition of DRIVER (Black’s Law Dictionary) http://thelawdictionary.org/driver/#ixzz2UtApOGouSo if you weren’t paid, which by nature is impossible with a system that runs on a debt system that uses federal reserve notes to discharge a debt with another debt. 41STAT112. Look it up.

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