So about those PBA cards… - A Positively New Jersey look at a Jersey tradition

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Gov. Phil Murphy signed a law on Friday that prohibits people who are not police officers from carrying badges in New Jersey.

The law was passed in response to a highly-publicized incident in which former Port Authority Commissioner Caren Turner flashed a badge issued to her and other officials during a traffic stop involving her daughter in Tenafly. Turner can be seen on dashcam video berating the police officers for the stop.

While Turner’s actions were controversial, News 12 New Jersey’s Brian Donohue wonders if they weren’t much different than a time-honored New Jersey tradition – flashing a PBA card when one is pulled over by police.

PBA cards are typically given to friends and family members of police officers or to people who donated money to police-related charities.

RELATED: New video shows ex-Port Authority official inside Tenafly police HQ 
RELATED: Ex-Port Authority commissioner caught swearing at cop 

Many New Jerseyans would say that using a PBA card during a traffic stop acts as a sort of “get out of jail free” card. But there is some mystery surrounding the cards. The New Jersey Police Benevolent Association did not return Donohue’s calls when he tried to find out more information about the cards.

Arie Harel was offered them many times when he lived in New York. Now he's an EMT in Florida and says that he doesn't see them at all where he lives now.

"I think it's a little bit crooked. You live your life honestly, I think that's the best route. You get to sleep good at night,” he says.

Donohue says that a PBA card presents a unique New Jersey litmus test for our conscience. We all have to decide if you're offered a PBA card, do you accept? If you have one and get pulled over, do you flash it? He says that he had one for a while and felt “so sleazy” that he threw it out.

The new law banning badges for non-police officers applies to NJ Transit, municipalities and counties as well as the Port Authority.

FULL VIDEO: Ex-Port Authority official confronts Tenafly officers during traffic stop


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