Paul Murphy / Eyewitness News

NEW ORLEANS -- The Internet is full of license plate covers that claim to be able to help drivers avoid getting a red light or speed camera ticket.

According to New Orleans Police Superintendent Ronal Serpas, one of his high-ranking officers, Capt. Michael Glasser, had this type of distortion device on his police cruiser. Serpas took away his car, and the matter is now under review by the NOPD's Public Integrity Bureau.

'No police officer has the right to violate the rules and the law and police supervisors are especially responsible for insuring that the officers follow the rules,' said Serpas.

According to Louisiana law, license plates 'shall be maintained free from foreign materials and in a condition to be clearly legible.'

Glasser's attorney Frank Desalvo said license plate covers are not illegal.

'I think the state law says if your license plate has to be visible from 50 feet away,' said Desalvo. 'I think these things affect the visibility from a certain angle.'

Glasser's case is particularly thorny because of the unit he commands.

He is the integrity control officer for the Special Operations Division, which also includes highway enforcement, the department that reviews red-light tickets.

'This inquiry is going to get to the bottom of it and it would be terribly troubling to us if a captain who was also responsible for insuring integrity had in fact broken our rules,' said Serpas.

Desalvo says Glasser is being singled out by Serpas because he's the president of the Police Association of New Orleans.

He claims there are other police cars out there with illegal tint and improper license plates.

'Glasser was critical of the department about a week ago,' said Desalvo. 'We really think this is retaliation.'

'We've got all kinds of violations that we see every day that we hold the citizens accountable for and we also hold the officers accountable for,' said Serpas. 'It's a troubling thing that a senior level member maybe involved in this kind of just foolishness.'

Glasser and other officers filed a lawsuit against Serpas and the NOPD in March.

They called Serpas's proposal to create the new position of police colonel 'unconstitutional.'

Later the civil service commission allowed the creation of 16 new 'commander' positions.

This new inquiry could lead to a full investigation and possible disciplinary action against Glasser.


4 Investigates' Mike Perlstein contributed to this report.

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