Some elected officials use sirens and flashing lights to avoid traffic — even though such devices are only permitted in emergency vehicles. Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz's SUV was spotted running red lights in Flatbush last week, but the Windsor Terrace resident insists his lights and sirens are "appropriate." A spokesman told the Post: "They are only used with great discretion ... In this instance, he was on his way to an event with the mayor and the governor addressing the Haitian crisis and calling for emergency aid to those suffering in Haiti as well as their families here, the majority of whom live in Brooklyn."
The mayor's office and the NYPD say they don't issue sirens and lights to politicians, and state motor-vehicle law "makes no provision for elected officials to use equipment reserved for emergency vehicles such as ambulances and police cars." While some politicians say they need sirens and lights so they can cross police lines at emergencies like fires and water-main breaks, Councilman Jimmy Vacca (D-Bronx) says the devices are unnecessary under any circumstances. "I don't see a reason for a siren," he said. "I manage to get there, and I drive normally. I don't see what the emergency would be that a borough president must be on the scene. That should be reserved for emergency personnel and the chief executive."