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Officer Tickets 215 Phantom Motorists For Seatbelt Violation

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Across the U.S., in every state in the union (except New Hampshire), hundreds of drivers are ticketed each day for not wearing their seatbelts. In New Orleans, however, at least 215 of those tickets have gone to "phantom motorists", allowing one enterprising police officer to nab some extra pay.

A little backstory

In June, the New Orleans Police Department received a federal grant that provides overtime pay to officers who help enforce seatbelt laws. Police salaries being what they are, the grant drew the attention of many officers, including one Glenn Gross.

Gross apparently issued the 215 tickets to "phantom motorists" in three months since the grant funds were awarded. Details of how he accomplished that feat haven't been released, but since he works in the department's information technology division -- or did, until he was arrested yesterday -- it sounds as if he could have created them from the relative comfort of his desk. Eventually, one of Gross' supervisors became suspicious and reported him to the Public Integrity Bureau, which conducted an investigation.

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From a New Orleans perspective

I've lived in New Orleans for most of my life, and the NOPD has always seemed to be in some kind of hot water, usually over allegations of corruption. We saw that play out on the world stage almost six years ago, in the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, when certain officers pilfered Cadillacs from a local dealer -- and, more brutally, in the high-profile killings of civilians on the Danziger Bridge during that same period.

In 2010, however, we elected Mitch Landrieu as our mayor. Despite the fact that he comes from a long line of politicians -- his father, Moon, was mayor of New Orleans in the 1970s, and his sister, Mary, is a U.S. Senator -- Mitch is a reformer. He's definitely cut from different cloth than any other mayor in recent history, and he seems hellbent on transparency and efficiency. He and his new police superintendent, Ronald Serpas, have taken heat for this and that, but no more so than any other politician.

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That's not an attempt to excuse the actions of officer Gross (a 22-year veteran on the force) or his fellow officers who committed crimes in the wake of Katrina. It's only to say that, while there are still plenty of folks out there looking to make an extra buck -- in every field and industry -- there seems to be a push here and elsewhere to clean up things.

Now, buckle up, and watch out for phantom motorists. 


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Comments (13)
  1. guess the tickets were paid with phantom money might have been a clue, huh ?

  2. Can you believe that this is the first time in 22 years he has strayed from the straight and narrow?

    If you do, I think there's a bridge in Brooklyn that you may be interested in purchasing...

  3. I patrolled N.O. for 6 months during and after Katrina, the police abandoned the city, goofed off, controlled entire building with their nasty azzed crime and nasty attitude's. Anyone who goes to New Orlean's is an idiot who has not been robbed yet. By-the-way, thank you for printing this story, atleast now the truth is not being denied any loger about the crazy train everyone was on down there, just an awlfull group of people!


  5. blue shirt gang, at it again...

  6. Do these phantom drivers carry insurance, if I get hit by one I hope so.

  7. It is always better to pay government workers NOT to do worthless jobs.


  9. I'll never forget the video of the reporter, in the aftermath of hurricane Katrina, reporting on the looters inside a Walmart when he came upon two black female NOPD officers IN UNIFORM filling a shopping cart with items that they were looting from the store. When the reporter attempted to ask them what made them any different from the rest of the looters, they threatened to arrest him for trespassing in the store!

    I've always wondered what happened to those two...and if they still have jobs.

  10. Throwing monetary incentives for enforcement of of an idiot law, and people wonder that the govt wastes so much money! Why don't they take that money instead and give fat bonuses to all the officers out there working and risking on the front line of the gang wars and human trafficking, that's what I'd like to see! They are actually doing something to deserve it.

  11. you said it brother!!!

  12. The feds bribe form a partnership with corrupt cops to screw the taxpayers who pay both their salaries. Both the feds and most local law enforcement get no respect and deserve less.

  13. And cops don't lie. This is the problem with the system. As a Probation Officer, I am defending my clients behind bad arrest, due to LOS ANGELES COUNTY SHERIFF'S DEPT,doing probation search with wanna be sheriff's from the probation dept to set up my clients with false eveidence. When at these pricks going to be held accountable, don't they have any inteigrity. I guess that went out the window when they left from working the jails for two to three years. FREAKIN ADAM HERNY'S!

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