During the Fourth of July STOP-DWI enforcement campaign, New York State Police were busy. Troopers issued almost 13,000 tickets. The enforcement period ran from Friday, June 30, 2023, to Wednesday, July 5, 2023. State Police used sobriety checkpoints and DWI patrols to crack down on impaired drivers. Almost 200 people (193) were arrested for DWI and NYSP investigated 949 crashes, including 158 with personal injuries and five fatalities.
During the enforcement campaign, Troopers utilized Concealed Identity Traffic Enforcement (CITE) vehicles, which blend in with regular vehicles. They are unmarked vehicles until the emergency lighting is activated.
Is It Illegal For Police To Use Undercover Cars In New York State?
I have seen many comments in various places saying that it is illegal for police in NY to use unmarked cars, but is it true?
The answer is NO! There have been several bills introduced to make it illegal, but none have passed yet. Back in 1996, on April 17, then-Governor George E. Pataki signed an executive order that prohibited the use of undercover cop cars. The Executive Order stated, in part, that
On or before May 1, 1996 unmarked or concealed identity police vehicles of the State of New York are not used for the routine stopping or apprehension of motorists for offenses relating to the Vehicle and Traffic Law and are used to stop or apprehend motorists for such offenses only under exceptional and necessitous circumstances presenting a substantial threat to public safety.
However, the EO was later repealed by Governors - David A. Paterson (Revoked by Executive Order No. 9) and Andrew M. Cuomo (Revoked by Executive Order No. 2).
Recently, Senate Bill S839 was introduced in the 2021-2022 Legislative Session. The bill is,
An act to amend the executive law, in relation to prohibiting the use of unmarked police vehicles, concealed identify police vehicles and under-cover police officers for routine traffic enforcement.
This bill, which would take effect immediately if passed by the legislature and signed by the Governor, is still in the Senate Committee Finance Committee. So, if you plan on speeding or breaking any traffic laws, you could be pulled over by an undercover cop.
***This article is not intended to provide any legal advice or counsel.