Orlando Police Chief disciplines 9 speeding officers

Suspensions come after Local 6 investigation


ORLANDO, Fla. – Orlando Police Chief Paul Rooney Friday suspended the take-home vehicle privileges of nine officers clocked by Local 6 driving at between 90 to 115 mph on toll roads.

The move came just nine days after Local 6 presented the department with evidence 12 police car operators had driven at those speeds 37 times in July. One officer had previously resigned and the department continues to investigate who was driving the other vehicles, officials said.

The nine officers disciplined cannot take their police vehicles home for 30 days, the most severe punishment Rooney said he could issue for a first offense.

Those disciplined include Officer Robert Schellhorn, whose motorcycle was clocked at over 100 mph six times in July, including once averaging 115 mph over a 3.2 mile stretch of State Road 408 just before 3 a.m.

Some of the officers are highly decorated, such as Schellhorn, who was recently honored as the region's best enforcer of drunk driving laws and received another award for helping deliver a baby for a couple that couldn't make it to a hospital in time.

Others cited have less stellar records.

According to records, Officer Rod Johnson, one of OPD's more frequent speeders over 90 mph, has been disciplined previously and was once prosecuted for misdemeanor battery of a teenager he was helping arrest. He pled no contest and adjudication of guilt was withheld, records showed.

Another speeding officer, Livio Beccacio, resigned from the agency before he could be disciplined for speeding in July. He was suspended for 40 hours in March for excessive force, after being videotaped throwing a 20-year-old woman to the ground, breaking her teeth, records showed.

In addition to Schellhorn and Johnson, officials said the following officers received 30-day suspensions of their take-home vehicle privileges: Lynette Malik, Luke Austin, Michael Perales, Emilio Disla, Dan Staudte, Chris Stewart and Samuel McFarland.