Broward Police Patrolling School Zones for Speeders

Today is the first day of school in Broward County. For Florida drivers, that means exercising extra caution or potentially paying the price. Those cited for speeding in a school zone can pay $140 for going 1 mph to 9 mph over the speed limit to $590 for going 30 mph or more over the speed limit.

Police officers will be monitoring school zones and cracking down on speeders or those who fail to stop at crosswalks or behind school buses that are stopped to load or unload. They may also be more heavily enforcing seat belt and child safety restraint rules.

A spokesperson fro the AAA Auto Club South recommends paying extra attention in school zones, playgrounds, and other areas with a high concentration of kids. Parents should also remind their children to look both ways and make eye contact with drivers before crossing the street.

Source: Slow down in Broward County school zones, South Florida Sun Sentinel, August 23, 2010 (more…)

South Florida Police Chief Being Investigated for Alleged Perjury, False Affidavit

Our Broward County traffic attorneys have learned that Wilton Manors Police Chief Richard E. Perez is accused of submitting a false affidavit to dismiss a traffic ticket to a former city commissioner. He was already being investigated for alleged perjury.

The allegations of a false affidavit stem from an incident on April 20. National Railroad Safety Awareness Week was April 18-24, so officers were encouraged to pay even more attention to railroad-related violations. During that time, an officer issued several tickets to Florida drivers, including a former city commissioner. Ten of those were for were violations related to stopping on the railroad tracks and other crossing-related violations.

Perez allegedly tried to have the city commissioner’s traffic ticket dismissed. None of the other traffic tickets were dismissed, and not surprisingly, those drivers are not happy with the situation. Perez will still be an active commission member while he is being investigated.

Source: POLICE CHIEF ACCUSED OF FIXING EX-COMMISSIONER’S TRAFFIC TICKET, South Florida Times (more…)

South Florida Traffic Attorneys Discuss the Legality of Police Quotas

Though the Sunrise cops claim they do not have traffic quotas, The South Florida Sun Sentinel reports that at least one Sunrise police officer was issued a written reprimand for failing to make enough traffic stops. The complaint form says that road patrol officers are expected to make at least three traffic stops a day. Since the city has 84 road patrol officers, that means they’d have to make almost 50,000 stops per year (roughly half the city’s population).

Chief John Brooks says they do not have a ticket or arrest quota, adding that quotas are unethical.

However, the Sentinel reports that Captain Robert Voss says “shift standards” give them a way to monitor performance and that they only apply to officers assigned to road patrol. Although quotas or shift standards are legal and ensure that police officers aren’t slacking on the job, they are generally frowned upon by drivers, who worry that they may get issued a traffic ticket so that the officer can meet standards and get promoted.

Source: Sunrise police officers required to make three traffic stops a day, South Florida Sun Sentinel, August 20, 2010 (more…)

Broward County Attorneys Discuss Cop Charged in Store Stand-Off

A Fort Lauderdale police officer has been charged with three misdemeanors and put on administrative leave with pay following a December 2009 incident at a 7-Eleven Store. His status could change to suspension without pay, which is often a precursor to termination.

According to an investigation, the officer wrestled a customer out of the store and arrested him without cause. The officer was waiting in line at the store and was not in uniform when a clerk informed another customer that he was not allowed in the store because he was suspected of shoplifting during a previous incident. The officer allegedly grabbed the other customer and wrestled him out of the store.

The report filed by the officer said that he identified himself as a law enforcement official and that the customer had reacted in a hostile manner. The customer was charged with trespassing and resisting arrest without violence, but those charges were later dropped. The police officer has five years of service, during which he has been investigated multiple times.

Source: LAUDERDALE COP CHARGED IN STORE CONFRONTATION, South Florida Times (more…)

Gubernatorial Candidates Debate Whether Florida Police can Check Immigration Status of Arrestees

Our South Florida criminal defense attorneys have been following a developing story involving Republican gubernatorial candidates Bill McCollum and Rick Scott. One of Scott’s campaign ads claims that Scott supports bring Arizona’s immigration law to Florida. It goes on to say that Scott would pass a law allowing police to check whether the people they arrest are legal or illegal aliens.

However, as McCollum points out, Florida law already allows police in all 67 counties to do so. Earlier this summer, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement announced that law enforcement officials now have access to a database maintained by the Department of Homeland Security. Prior to this, police officers were only able to check the person’s potential criminal history using fingerprints and a database maintained by the FBI.

However, unlike Arizona’s immigrations laws, Florida does not require police officers to check a person’s immigration history. Arizona’s immigration laws have not fully gone into effect due to a preliminary injunction filed by Judge Susan Bolton of Federal District Court.

Source: Bill McCollum says Florida police can check the immigration status of people they arrest, Polifact.com, August 5, 2010 (more…)

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