Over the past month, the feud between the Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) and the Miami Police has sparked debate in the community.
Last week, the Miami Interim Police Chief Manuel Orosa stated that Miami police officers are no longer allowed to pull over other law enforcement officials, unless they are instructed to do so over their radios.
So, let’s get this straight: If a Miami police officer is tracking speeds on the side of Interstate 95, which has a speed limit of 55 mph in most of Miami-Dade County, and a police vehicle is tracked at more than 100 mph and is not headed to a call or pursuing another vehicle, that Miami officer cannot pull him over for violating the law?
Last month, a feud between the two law enforcement departments started when FHP trooper Donna Jane Watts stopped Miami Officer Fausto Lopez for reckless driving on the Turnpike in Broward County. She then drew her gun and handcuffed Lopez.
The next incident occurred when Officer Thomas Vokaty pulled over state trooper Cpl. Victor Luquis.
Though this particular stop may have just been an act of retaliation for the first incident, it shouldn’t imply that officers are above the law and cannot be stopped for violating it.
The previously-mentioned statement that Orosa made implies just that. If Miami police officers are not allowed to pull over other law enforcement vehicles for disregarding speed limits and traffic signals, then apparently, as long as an officer is driving his police car, he can drive however he wants. They are using their jobs as an excuse to violate the law.
What about if a police officer decided he needed a little extra cash so he pulled out his gun and stole money from a gas station? That officer would be charged with a crime and his job would be jeopardized. Why should traffic violations be any different?
Aimee Allen is a sophomore majoring in public relations and mathematics.