Governor Rick Scott will veto a change to Florida’s law that would have given the state transportation agency permission to increase speed limits on the state’s highways by 5 miles per hour (from 70 to 75), if the agency deemed that it was safe to do so. Why the veto? Because police asked him to.
Scott said Tuesday that he will “stand with law enforcement” who urged
him to veto the legislation that narrowly passed the Florida
Legislature. Earlier this month, a Florida Highway Patrol trooper who was mourning a
colleague killed after being struck by a vehicle urged Scott to veto the
Increasing or decreasing the speed limit doesn’t matter to the cops. They don’t obey the speed limit anyway. They know that they aren’t going to get a ticket. That is why they have
all of the “Blue line” bumper stickers, so other cops know that they are
cops and will let them off.
The Orlando Sentinel did a story in February about an honest trooper in Miami that gave another cop a ticket. Since the traffic stop, Trooper Watts claims that she has been harassed by prank calls and threats. According
to her lawyer, over a three-month period, at least 88 law enforcement officers from 25 different agencies accessed Watts’ driver’s license
information more than 200 times. She has had fecal matter left on her personal car at home. She has filed suit against the police agencies involved.
All because she gave another cop a ticket.
A three-month investigation by Miami’s Sun Sentinel (pdf warning) found almost 800 cops from a dozen agencies driving 90 to 130 mph on Florida highways. They weren’t even on duty — they were commuting to and from work in their take-home patrol cars.
The evidence came from police SunPass toll records. The Sun Sentinel obtained a year’s worth, hit the highways with a GPS device and figured out how fast the cops were driving based on the distance and time it took to go from one toll plaza to the next.
Speeding cops can kill. Since 2004, Florida officers exceeding the speed limit have caused at least 320 crashes and 19 deaths. Only one officer went to jail — for just 60 days. At least 320 law enforcement officers across Florida were involved in
crashes from 2004 through 2010 that were blamed on the officers’
speeding. But only 37 — 12 percent — were ticketed, an analysis of crash
reports shows. As a cop, even leading police on a high speed pursuit only gets your take home patrol car taken away for three months.
After the article came out, the police chief said that he plans to fire the worst offenders. Some of them were exceeding the speed limit by over 50 mph- that is enough to get a regular citizen thrown in jail, not just fired. Even after firing, they will retain their state LEO certification, and will be free to break the laws while they enforce them upon the rest of us.
The third part of the Sun Sentinel article (pdf warning) states that one in five off duty police officers exceeded the speed limit by more than 20 mph. Robert Pusins, a retired major with the Fort Lauderdale Police Department. was quoted in the article as saying: “The problem is the attitude . . . ‘because we can.’ ”
Even in their personal vehicles, officers can easily “badge their way out” of getting tickets,former cops told the Sun Sentinel. The same professional courtesy extends to family members,the ex-cops said, speaking on condition of anonymity. Badges imprinted with “police officer’s son or daughter” are available online for as little as $12.
On one forum, a cop commented on all of this, and this is what he said:
Most companies give some type of breaks to their employees anyway. Car
companies give their employees bigger discounts when they purchase a new
cars, doctors give their staff free medical treatment, dentists give
their employees and their family members free dental work, financial
institutions give their employees lower interest rates and the list goes
on and on.
Governor Scott, instead of standing with Law Enforcement, why don’t you try representing the voters, you know, the ones who put you in office?
Gladorn · May 18, 2014 at 5:07 am
I see this happening in other states and I think "How can this happen? How can my fellow brothers in blue feel that they can abuse the laws that we are sworn to uphold?"
And then I remember that not every state has a culture of integrity. While it often gives us a bad reputation, our state police are required by policy to issue a ticket if they pull someone over, irregardless if they have a badge or not. I myself have gotten one ticket since I've been sworn, and it was no one's fault but my own.
I started out with my integrity. The academy reinforced my integrity. And my agency definitely has sanctions if we loose our moral compass. Because I have a badge does not make me a better person then everyone else, it just adds more responsibilities.
My wife's family is "up north." I get to visit a number of blue states with her. It is a bit of a shock to interact with various law enforcement up north and… Well, most of them strike me as being one step up in evolution from being a turd. (Please excuse my french.) I hate to say that in my perception, sometimes the way some law enforcement personnel view the world is almost the same way as some of the criminals view the world.
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