Last week, Law and Order bit actor Elliot Sash was busted in his Yonkers home with nearly 7,000 counterfeit law-enforcement badges. Possessing a bogus shield can carry a five-year prison term. So why would someone spend $15 to $150 for a fake piece of NYPD metal? We asked some officers to reveal the fringe benefits of ownership.
RIDING THE SUBWAY FREE MTA officials allow the NYPD complimentary fare both to show thanks and to increase police visibility. Petty criminals with phony tins frequently take advantage of this.
PICKING UP CHICKS Cops have encountered men who admit to owning fake badges for flirting. "They work just as good as a Mercedes convertible," cracks one officer.
SCAMMING CLUB ADMISSION In Giuliani's New York, some nightclub owners are only too grateful to have an increased police presence. Most clubbing cops are spared long lines behind a velvet rope if the doormen spot a shield.
TAKING A LEAK Many businesses let cops use their rest rooms. "No one will ever let you use their bathroom willingly unless you flash 'em the badge," reports one officer. "Granted, most of the time we only use it in an emergency."