Better Policing? Start With the Simplest Thing: Respect for Laws

Every morning, in the wee hours on my way to work, I am passed by a sheriff’s deputy speeding by me like a rocket. Across a bridge, under construction, where the speed has been dropped from 65 to 55 for safety. This deputy is from another county who works in a third county. But he drives across the bridge at speeds approaching 80mph. Through a construction zone. He isn’t in pursuit. He is going to work.

In Duval county, and the rest of Florida, officers do not obey speed limits. Florida Highway Patrol officers speed past other cars simply going somewhere. Why? I asked one and he said they were making the most of the taxpayers’ time.

I would humbly suggest that this sense of entitlement is EXACTLY the same problem we have at the other end of the spectrum. Abusing someone? We are giving the taxpayers their money? Why not? Isn’t an officer’s respect for the simple laws the same as respect for the more important ones? As in a victims right to not be choked?

What is the logic in this? That officers uphold the big laws, but are routinely allowed to violate the simple ones? Isn’t this just hypocrisy? Should it be a surprise when they don’t uphold the bigger laws?

There are excuses they give. Like, we needed to be there quickly. We needed to stop the suspect’s struggling. Our lights flashing while driving fast would be a distraction.

Yet isn’t driving 80mph without lights a bigger danger?

So to all of the state patrol, deputies, and city police officers who don’t like this discussion? I say it is time to stand up and set an example. The next guy you pull for speeding? Tell him how dare you, when every officer out here obeys the speed limit.

If a situation requires speed, turn on your lights. Am I wrong in suggesting that such is the reason you have emergency lights?

It is so simple. Every police jurisdiction of any kind should DEMAND that all police officers obey the speed limits at all times. And if not, use their emergency lights. And that all officers need to understand that they MUST RESPECT THE LAW THEMSELVES. And that it is not an inherent right to drive 80 in a 70 because you are in a hurry to get home.

To the people who say this is stupid and to leave the policing to the police? I respond, “How’s that working out for you?” It is time for change. And this is a change requiring nothing more than a letter from Gov. DeSantis, a few sheriffs, and a change in attitude. And isn’t that what we are all after anyway? A good start to police reform?

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Herb Cochley

Old engineer who keeps working because I have this weird belief that I still do good in the world. Floridian.