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Resource ID: #13875
Subject: Police
Source: Miami Herald
Affiliation: 
Date: 

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Police officers exempt themselves from punishment under traffic laws as a "professional courtesy," even when the accidents aren't related to emergencies, even when the investigators agree the officers were at fault, even when the officers are off-duty or commuting to work. Police agencies argue that the officers' jobs are so demanding that it is unfair to hold them to normal standards. Others said that internal discipline replaced criminal punishment, even though it doesn't include points on the licensee or increased insurance premiums, and very rarely features financial penalties. The Miami Herald finds that a small minority of departments reject the informal exemption employed throughout the field, and demand that officers at fault face punishment like anyone else. The investigation showed that two out of every three civilian drivers who are found at fault in an accident are charged. On the contrary, only one in 14 officers at fault was charged (75 percent of those charges came from two departments that don't exempt officers). (October 13; November 3, 1996)

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