She Pressured Cops, Now Other Officials Could Lose Their Badges
NEW YORK — After a Port Authority commissioner pulled out her badge and repeatedly mentioned her title while trying to intervene in a traffic stop, the agency is considering doing away with the badges for non-law enforcement all together.
Then-commissioner Caren Turner, who was appointed to the board by Gov. Chris Christie in 2017, had arrived Easter Sunday at the traffic stop on Route 9W in Tenafly. Her adult daughter was a passenger in a car being impounded because it was not properly registered.
She repeatedly demanded the officers involved explain the stop to her, and they repeatedly refused, telling her that the matter didn't involve her — all those in the car were adults, and her daughter wasn't facing any charges. She told the officers several times that she's a commissioner and in charge of hundreds of police.
She also identified herself as a friend of the mayor's, and pledged: "I will be talking to the chief of police." In response, the officers offered up their full names and encouraged her to do so.
"You may not tell me when to take my daughter," she eventually told an officer. "You may shut the f*** up."
The gold badges with the seals of the states of New Jersey and New York are issued to commissioners when they are appointed to the board. They have no real meaning beyond identification including during an emergency situation, Port Authority spokesman Steve Coleman told the Townsquare News Network. He said they have been issued for decades.
"The chief security officer has been instructed to review the history of this policy and explore changes to it, including potential elimination," Coleman said.
Turner, who had been the head of the board's Committee on Governance and Ethics, resigned on Monday after her behavior was called "outrageous" by the agency. Tenafly Police released video of the stop on Tuesday.
Former commissioner Steve Cohen told Politico New Jersey that he never used the badge and kept it in a sock drawer. He compared it to the badges that TV's Starsky & Hutch used on their old 1970s show.
Turner is the founder and CEO of Turner Government and Public Affairs.
The Port Authority has not yet returned a message from the Townsquare News Network.