In all, 31 state troopers received warnings for excessive speed and are being made to attend a four-hour ethics course as a result of the findings.
The Sun Sentinel discovered the speeding officers after an investigation into toll records. The tool booths record the speed and license plate of vehicles which pass by, regardless of whether or not they pay the toll. The newspaper used these toll records to identify 5,100 instances of officers from a dozen different South Florida police agencies driving above 90 mph during a 13-month period. Many times the officers were not only speeding while off duty but also while outside their jurisdictions.
In one instance an officer was caught speeding at more than 100 mph while en route to his off-duty job.
Adding to the furor over this report are the facts about crashes caused by speeding officers which were also collected by The Sun Sentinel staff. Since 2004, speeding cops in Florida have caused at least 320 crashes and 19 deaths. So this is more than a public relations nightmare for the Florida Highway Patrol, it is also a matter of public safety.
Many drivers don’t realize that police and emergency vehicles are required to follow the same traffic laws they are. A police cannot exceed the posted speed limit unless it is an emergency situation. And going to their off-duty job or heading home for lunch do not constitute emergency situations.
Police officers are also required to pass rigorous driving tests and meet very specific requirements for the privilege of enforcing the law. While three dozen police officers are now facing the music for speeding, hundreds more have been doing their job properly and maintaining a safe speed at all times.