Central Florida law enforcers are slowing down – dramatically – one year after many lost their take-home-car privileges after a Local 6 investigation found them routinely traveling 90-plus miles an hour without justification on area toll roads.
In a one-month period last year, Local 6 found 25 Orlando police officers and Orange County sheriff’s deputies exceeding 90 miles an hour while not responding to emergencies.
But during a five-month period ending this year, only five officers were found to have sped that badly without justification.
That is a 96 percent decrease when you compare the averages of one offender per month this year to the 25 offenders discovered during one month last year.
The greatest improvement came at the Orange County sheriff’s office, where no deputies were identified traveling that fast without justification. (One speeding deputy car was a shared vehicle and the agency could not determine who was driving it at the time it was speeding 100 mph.)
The Orlando Police Department had five unjustified speeders during the five-month study period, ending May 2013, compared to 12 identified during the one month analyzed last year, July 2012.
"Well, we're down to five and I'm not going to brag about that because I still think five is too many," said police chief Paul Rooney.
He said four of the officers had their take-home-vehicle privileges suspended for 30 days.
“We had one, if you noticed, that exceeded 100 mph and we went ahead and suspended his take home privileges for 60 days,” Rooney said. "I think the message is getting through. Not as quick as I'd like it to get through, when we have officers violating the law. We're not above the law.”
Local 6 measured the exact time it took law enforcers to travel the distances between toll plazas in July, then created a computer database to isolate the most frequent and fastest speeders in police vehicles.
For more on this story and to see Tony Pipitone's previous reports, click here.