Florida's missing speeding cops

How the Sun-Sentinel busted speeding cops using databases and grade-school arithmetic

Table of contents

The video that started it

How it was reported

How the Sun Sentinel reported its Pulitzer Prize winning coverage of off-duty cops

Then it dawned on us: Florida’s toll system, SunPass, records the date, location and time down to the hundredth of a second when a car passes through a toll booth. If we got those records for police vehicles, we could calculate their speed based on the distance and time it took to go from one toll location to the next.

The partially-processed data

Database: Speeding Cops in South Florida



Graphic: Speeding rampant in some agencies


Graphic: Fewer tickets for police


Cop blazes through Broward County


The aftermath

"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…I, like most chiefs around, if you ask them everybody's going to tell you, `We didn't know it was this bad'"

– Miami police Chief Manuel Orosa, as quoted in, 36 Miami cops to be punished, Sun Sentinel; June 5, 2012.

Violations of a private database

Highway Patrol trooper who pulled over cop settles privacy lawsuit against Broward Sheriff's Office

She learned that 88 officers from 25 agencies from across Florida looked up private information from the state's database, such as her home address, picture, Social Security number, date of birth and detailed vehicle description, according to her lawsuit.

The driver license information available to police officers is known as DAVID (Driver And Vehicle Information Database) and is more detailed than information available to the rest of the public. The database is meant to be accessed for legitimate police work.

Miami-Dade and a Citizen

From earlier this year in 2016: VIDEO: Miami driver Claudia Castillo pulls over police officer for speeding

Via Photography is Not a Crime: Miami Police Union Leader Retaliates Against Woman Who Pulled Cop Over by Doxing Her