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NYPD T-shirts banned from wear by actual police

By Jonathan Allen

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Here's something New York City police officers can cross off their birthday lists - an NYPD T-shirt.

That and the mugs, pins, hats, jewelry, pens and endless curios that bear the famous blue and yellow shield-shaped logo have been banned from use by any NYPD officer under a January 19 order issued by Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly.

The department-wide order prevents New York's finest from using the shield on anything other than their official uniforms, even when they are off-duty, according to a copy obtained by and posted on the news website DNAinfo.com.

"The department wants to deter the unprofessional appearance associated with unauthorized police-related logos and slogans," Paul Browne, an NYPD spokesman, said in an e-mail explaining the order.

While tourists can head home with bagfuls of the NYPD tchotchkes that fill souvenir shops citywide, the goodies are now off-limits to actual police officers.

"Many private citizens proudly wear NYPD apparel - and police officers can't? It makes no sense," Patrick Lynch, the president of the police union the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association, said in a statement.

He said the order was unlawful and infringed on officers' rights.

"Telling police officers what images or objects he or she can own or wear in their private lives is a clear violation of the officers' free speech rights, possibly other constitutional rights and collective-bargaining rights," Lynch said.

The ban also stops officers from adorning department property with the logo in anything other than an officially sanctioned way.

A spokesman for the New York Police Department did not immediately respond to queries about the order.

(Editing By Barbara Goldberg, Paul Thomasch and Cynthia Johnston)