Miami’s police chief announced Monday that he is taking disciplinary action against 36 of his officers for speeding while driving off duty, sometimes at above 100 mph, the South Florida Sun Sentinel reported.
Officer Fausto Lopez, who pleaded no contest to reckless driving last month after a much-publicized incident in which he was spotted driving 120 mph on Florida’s Turnpike, is getting suspended for one month and will lose his take-home car for three months, the newspaper reported.
Florida Highway Patrol Trooper D.J. Watts’ traffic stop of Lopez at gunpoint on the Turnpike last October generated countless headlines. An ensuing investigation by the Sun Sentinel in February found widespread off-duty speeding by police officers at a dozen departments in the region, all of which began internal investigations.
"What the Sun Sentinel has done is a service to all police agencies because if they did not know they had a speeding problem, now they do,'' Miami Police Chief Manuel Orosa told the paper. "I, like most chiefs around, if you ask them everybody's going to tell you, 'We didn't know it was this bad.'''
Orosa said he plans to fire one or more officers identified as “habitual speeders” in the Sun Sentinel series, and put GPS devices on 40 police vehicles to make drivers slow down. Other disciplinary action includes reprimands and a two-week loss of take-home cars.