Thursday, December 6, 2012
Carmel on the Case: Red Light - Green Light
If a red light camera catches you in Fort Lauderdale, expect a ticket and expect to pay. But if you are a Fort Lauderdale Police Officer, maybe not. Investigative reporter Carmel Cafiero reports on how police running a red light are getting a green light.
This is video of a Fort Lauderdale police cruiser with no emergency lights on, clearly running a red light. What did the officer behind the wheel pay? Nothing.
Ted Hollander: "Frankly, I was shocked."
Ticket Clinic attorney Ted Hollander is challenging 40 Fort Lauderdale cases because of a police policy that gives free passes to officers. And they don't have to be on emergency calls or official business.
For the first violation, an officer gets "verbal counseling." There's another warning for ticket two. An investigation is launched on the third violation in a one year period, but the bottom line is the $158 fines disappear.
Ted Hollander: "I was really surprised, that there's an actual written policy, signed and approved by the chief of police of Fort Lauderdale, that, really blew me away."
Fort Lauderdale's top cop insists the policy is fair even though his officers are treated differently than the public.
He calls it part of the discipline process.
Frank Adderley: "We need to first, like I said before warn them, train them and then discipline them."
And he says officers who repeatedly run red lights could be fired.
Frank Adderley: "I tell you what, if you tell me the company that's going to terminate someone's employment because they had a red light ticket - I mean I haven't heard that. I don't know that there's other companies that are doing that."
The policy also allows the city to ask other police departments to dismiss tickets given to Fort Lauderdale officers, allowing Fort Lauderdale to handle the discipline themselves.
Hollander says, other drivers in Fort Lauderdale are not getting the same breaks.
Ted Hollander: "There needs to be some uniformity across the board, whether you are a police officer, or you drive a truck for a living, or you are working in a restaurant, it really makes no difference - we all should be treated the same."
A judge will ultimately decide whether to green light this latest challenge in court.
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