Orange County Sheriff's Office responds to red-light camera investigation

Violators include Orange County Sheriff's Office deputies

APOPKA, Fla. - The Orange County Sheriff's Office responded to a Local 6 investigation on Tuesday that revealed deputies in Apopka were among the drivers caught running red lights on camera.

Cpt. Angelo Nieves tells Local 6 that no one is above the law and that every time deputies run red lights, they must explain why they did it to their boss.

"We want to make sure that the motoring public is aware of the fact that we are held accountable as well as they are," said Nieves.

Nieves reviewed each of the violations that were gathered over 8 months in 2012 in Apopka and he tells Local 6 the deputies were dealt with on a case-by-case basis.

"That's a situation which occurred over 8 months, 4 or 5 violations and I understand there's probably around 30,000 to 35,000 vehicles that go through those intersections," Nieves said . "Our goal, is to have zero violations, but mistakes do occur and we hold our folks accountable."

Just like any red-light violation, some of the cases are clear and others are borderline. Even so, none of the cruisers had their lights on and each of the deputies paid the fine, proving they weren't responding to an emergency.

"We're not above the rules. I think that mistakes are made. Deputies are human also," Nieves said.

In one case, at Bradshaw and Main Street, as drivers headed home from work, an OCSO cruiser is seen driving through the red light long after the light turned from yellow. The cruiser had no emergency lights on, and that's the same case for all the red light camera violations uncovered at intersections all across Apopka.

"They should be setting examples," said driver Penny Newton. "It's a good thing seeing that they're getting caught, but they shouldn't be breaking the rules either."

In each case, an Orange County Sheriff's deputy is seen running the light and given a ticket. However, some cases are not clear-cut. For instance, just before 1:50 a.m. last July, a cruiser appears to tap on the brakes but goes through the intersection anyway, a violation of the city ordinance.

"It's about time, because it's not fair that we get ticketed for the simplest things," said driver George Zayas.

OCSO spokesman Jeff Williamson said the sheriff's office would not pay for the tickets. Instead, the individual deputy would pay if they were found in violation.

When asked if the sheriff's office will give additional punishments to deputies caught violating red-light cameras, OCSO said it's a case-by-case basis and none of the deputies made a habit of running red lights.

Stay tuned to Local 6 for more on this story.

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