As a society we like to think that we can place our trust in law enforcement officers to not only protect us, but also our loved ones – and in the vast majority of situations Florida police officers rightly earn this trust. However, the Herald-Tribune recently released an investigative report that, if proven true, has unearthed some very frightening allegations regarding some of Florida’s “finest.”
The Herald-Tribune reported situations in which many police continue to be on the job even though there exists ample evidence they have committed severe crimes – crimes involving drugs, violence and even forcible sex, including allegations of sex with children as young as 14-years-old. Given the extremely severe penalties possible when private citizens commit battery on law enforcement officers, it is surprising that it appears the same standards fail to apply to a few “bad apple” law enforcement officers.
Allegations of Misconduct Against Florida Police
The majority of Florida’s 83,000 law enforcement officers is extremely committed to the job and performs the duties with zeal and integrity. However as with any job, there are always a few that can ruin the image for everyone.
Recently, the Herald-Tribune spent eight months looking into how law enforcement officials investigate and handle officer misconduct – reviewing thousands of cases.
Some of the newspaper’s findings included:
- One out of 20 current Florida law enforcement officers has committed a moral character violation severe enough to risk his or her job, including 30 officers and prison guards who are still working even though they have four or more offenses.
- The number of officers with serious violations is probably much higher than state records show. Even though state law calls for each violation to be reviewed by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, local agencies have faced no consequences for failing to report cases – some Sheriff’s Offices haven’t reported any violations in 26 years.
- Some police departments have permitted problem officers to resign during an investigation, which means they are listed as leaving voluntarily in the computerized tracking system – which can be very misleading when subsequent law enforcement agencies review an officer’s history before hiring them. In fact, the Herald-Tribune discovered two expressed agreements between officers and police departments that kept the truth regarding their departure a secret.