SPEEDING COPS - SCRIPT
COP SPEAKING TO DRIVER: "Your license and registration please.
Do you know what the speed limit is on this road, Sir?"
REPORTER STEVE WILSON: To some traffic cops around the country,
catching you speeding is some sort of a game.
UNIDENTIFIED COP: "47, 48, 49--let ME get one, I gotta get
one...ooh, 50, big time."
REPORTER WILSON: If this has ever happened to YOU, you know it's
a game you're not likely to win...and out here on the road, the
truth is some motorists really don't have to worry much about
following the rules the rest of us are expected to obey.
Who do you suppose is going to stop THAT guy doing 81 miles an
hour?...or THIS off-duty cop rushing to a weekend errand at 86...
or THIS on-duty trooper headed to a meeting flying by at well
Just what do you think happens when a cop stops a cop for
speeding or virtually any kind of potentially deadly driving?
MAJ. RALPH PAGE, BROWARD CO FLORIDA SHERIFF'S DEPARTMENT: "No
cop will really give another cop a ticket, generally speaking?
(Page) No in reality it probably would not happen. Usually
there's a camaraderie of course I guess you could look at it that
way or the fact that each of us know in law enforcement that
we've, we're in the same profession."
REPORTER WILSON: But what about the rest of us? We're the
"hunted" and the "hunters" who are often armed with state-of-the
art police radar have us outgunned...and often outmanned in
places where police have perfected the art of writing tickets
faster than you can believe.
SGT. BEN CARROL, Altamonte Springs, FL: "We write 80-100 tickets
in 4 hours!"
REPORTER WILSON ON CAMERA: "They do operations like these all
over the country but a lot of folks will tell you there's no
place like Florida for a good speed trap."
Radio transmission from airplane: "Black car, lane #1..."
REPORTER WILSON: If you speed through HERE, a task force of a
dozen cops from 2 counties could be waiting...backed up by a
spotter plane in the air. It's an operation that pays big
dividends to local government.
SGT. CARROLL: "It's $52 plus $4 for every mile over the speed
limit. The average ticket runs 100-130 dollars."
REPORTER WILSON: Cops write lots of tickets but they seldom
ticket each other...and how does a cop on patrol know which cars
on the road belong to other cops? You don't suppose that's why
they fasten those little police union badges to their license
plates do you?
UNIDENTIFIED COP: "No special reason why we do it. (Wilson) It's
not to get out of speeding tickets is it? (Cops) Oh noooo....
REPORTER WILSON ON CAMERA: "Now of course chasing cops around
town is not the safest or the brightest thing you could be
doing....but how would anybody set out to document that cops DO
speed? Let me show us what we did. We just went out and set up
our own radar trap."
SPOTTER: "Got one coming..."
WILSON ON CAMERA: Our spotter at the side of Interstate 595 near
the Ft. Lauderdale, Florida airport simply watched the traffic
and tipped us off whenever he saw a marked police car.
SPOTTER: "Got a patrol car coming your way...[pull up to 19:10,
Wilson behind wheel on radio) How fast? (Spotter) He's
moving...(Wilson) Okay, we're going.
REPORTER WILSON: Then up ahead, we put two other vehicles onto
WILSON ON RADIO: "Radar car into position please."
REPORTER WILSON: The van I was in...and another van that carried
our own radar unit which pulled to the side of the road and was
in perfect position to clock the squad car when it passed.
The reading on THIS guy...
SPOTTER ON RADIO: "Got him on 86. (Wilson) 86, thank you."
REPORTER WILSON: That's right...86 miles an hour--and where's HE
heading in such a hurry? To a local supermarket where he
illegally parks his squad car in the fire lane facing the wrong
direction. WE got there just as he was leaving....
REPORTER WILSON TO PETE LAWRENCE, OAKLAND PARK P.D.: "Is this
place being robbed? (Cop) No. (Wilson) What are you doing here
if I may ask? (Cop) Who are YOU? (Wilson) I'm Steve Wilson.
We're doing a story about police officers and their driving. Are
you on duty? (Cop) Am I on duty? I have nothing to say to
you...(Wilson) Do you know how fast you were going on the
interstate? Car 124, could I talk to you sir? (pulls away)
REPORTER WILSON: He went right back on the interstate ...and we
clocked him again.
REPORTER WILSON TO TOM FRANK, RADAR EXPERT: "When he came back
how fast was he going? (Frank) 78."
REPORTER WILSON: When we caught up with him again behind a pizza
parlor he still had nothing to say.
REPORTER WILSON TO OFFICER LAWRENCE: "86 on the interstate is
what we clocked you at and I'm curious why in a city car you'd be
driving at that speed.
REPORTER WILSON: After I called Oakland Park police headquarters
to get some answers...his acting sergeant showed up and did his
best to cover up for him.
REPORTER WILSON TO SGT. REGAN: "Is he on duty or not on duty?
(cop) He is on duty."
REPORTER WILSON: No he isn't. The truth is officer Pete
Lawrence who is authorized to use his squad car off duty is
actually moonlighting as a weekend security guard at the pizza
place...and Sgt. Regan here doesn't really care how fast we saw
him speeding to work.
SGT. REGAN: "Read my lips. I'm not going to answer anymore, if
you have a complaint go on Monday and lodge it. That's the end
of the conversation. (Wilson) Are you not concerned... (Cop)
This conversation is ended."
REPORTER WILSON: Here's another off-duty cop...this one racing
home through a residential area at 74 miles an hour. When we
spotted his car and started shooting it in the driveway, Deputy
Jack Castellaneta came out to see what was up.
REPORTER WILSON TO DEP. JACK CASTELLANETA: "Do you know how fast
you were going on Nob Hill? 74. (Cop) Hmmm....I don't think I
was going that fast."
REPORTER WILSON: And when he passed our radar unit on the
interstate? 74 is what we clocked him at there.
DEP. CASTELLANETA: "It's your word against mine, okay, and I
wasn't going that fast. (Wilson) You don't think so. (Cop) No.
(Wilson) You were going that fast... (Cop) OK (Wilson)...I don't
think there's much question. Is there a policy about how fast
you guys can drive home? (Cop) Yeah there sure is. (Wilson) And
what is the policy? (Cop) You do the speed limit."
REPORTER WILSON: Now, take a look at THIS... We're on the
windy, dangerous Taconic State Parkway in Dutchess County New
York and we've got our radar set up again. That NY state trooper
just went flying by at more than 90 miles an hour headed for a
meeting with her boss. We got to the meeting long after Trooper
Christine Jess arrived. Her commander is Capt. Thomas Larkin...
CAPT. THOMAS LARKIN: "Would you please step inside here, Mr.
REPORTER WILSON: He didn't want to be on camera...but privately
did not deny troopers speed when they shouldn't. He said since
he would investigate, there was no need for us to report this
story because it's not good for police in general or the NY state
police in particular...especially true since lots of folks here
in the Hudson Valley still remember what happened to Cynthia
Feldman...she was the 51-year-old grandmother whose car was
struck on the Taconic by a state trooper doing more than 90
miles-an-hour for no good reason. State troopers first tried to
cover THAT up by claiming the patrolman was doing only 55 and
Mrs. Feldman ran a stop sign...but their own investigation later
proved those claims were untrue...and NY taxpayers eventually
payed most of the $800,000 legal settlement payed to the victim's
husband. The trooper who killed his wife walked away with a 30-
day suspension and not even a speeding ticket.
REPORTER WILSON TO BOB FELDMAN, VICTIM'S HUSBAND: "You've paid a
terrible price for a lesson that apparently hasn't been learned.
(Feldman) I guess you can say that, yes."
REPORTER WILSON: You sure can...in two days of observation here,
before the police knew what we were up to, every trooper we
spotted was speeding, one on I-84 well in excess of 90...
and THIS one travelling well over 80 on the Taconic State Parkway
where she passed the very spot Cynthia Feldman died.
SHE is trooper Yvette Smith.
REPORTER WILSON TO TROOPER YVETTE SMITH: "Are you on a call?
(Cop) No. (Wilson) And I see you're eating while you're driving.
(Cop) Yes. (Wilson) Is that why you don't know you're doing 80?
(Cop) What is this all about? (Wilson) It's about how fast
REPORTER WILSON: She says she's driving 80 eating fried chicken
and looking in her rearview mirror to check for expired vehicle
REPORTER WILSON TO TROOPER SMITH: "But are you authorized to do
drive at that speed simply to check registration stickers? (Cop)
You can check with my authorities.... (Wilson) Do you know how
dangerous that is? (Cop) Of course I know how dangerous that is.
(Wilson) Then why would you do it? (Cop) I'm a professional
REPORTER WILSON TO CAPT. LARKIN: "We get calls. Sometimes the
public calls in and we investigate these matters so you're not
the first. (Wilson) But see the impression I get and the
information I have is that when a citizen calls or writes and
says a trooper was flying by me or I have some evidence that this
was happening, you know what they're told? They're told that's a
perk that comes with the job. (Larkin) I don't believe that.
Where did you get that. That's something that's never been said
here. We investigate all matters brought to our attention."
REPORTER WILSON: But that was exactly the response Sgt. James
Sweeny is said to have given a citizen who wrote an official
complaint last February...and that doesn't surprise Cynthia
Feldman's widower because to him, the message about speeding cops
is painfully clear.
BOB FELDMAN: "Once they put on a uniform they feel they are
above the law. They feel they are entitled to do things others
are not permitted to do and they can get away with these things."