Thursday, May 10, 2012

Is anyone watching the St. Pete PD Driving habits?

The public has raised concerns about St. Petersburg police officers speeding and driving recklessly.
During my five years as PD IT manager there were only two people authorized to access the GPS records for investigative data. Me and one of my supervisors. I did most of the data forensics including looking for officers or cruisers reported by the public for exceeding the speed limit.
Speed data was fairly regular request. To get an idea of how many, I sent the following public records request to the Eva Andujar, City Clerk.
Please provide the following information in electronic format:
All of the following incidents reported to The Police Department Internal Affairs Division in 2011 and 2012 and their disposition. (Sustained, Not sustained): Officer or patrol car speeding, Officer or patrol car driving at high rate of speed, Officer driving recklessly
Here is the reply from the City Clerk:
The Internal Affairs cases are not classified by the breakdown listed in the request, but by allegation types to include as a sample Crash, Discourtesy, Discharge of Weapon, etc.. The information requested should fall under the allegation of Improper Procedures. To fulfill the request, a review of each case with an allegation of Improper Procedures would have to be completed to determine if the case was inclusive of the information requested.
Staff has indicated there were 29 Improper Procedure cases in 2011 and 6 from January 1 - May 1, 2012. It is estimated that it will take approximately three hours to review the cases at a cost of $59.13. If you wish us to proceed, please make your check payable to the City of St. Petersburg and send to my attention at the address listed below. Please note that the cost of $59.13 is staff cost for review only and does not include redaction/duplication cost (a PDF copy can be created for the summary, but a request of the complete file would be in paper and possibly CDs if there were associated 911 calls/photos).
Please contact me if you have any questions.

Apparently the PD has no formal management report that details specific driving/speeding incidents, no formal reports detailing officer speeding, even though there are a number of complaints from citizens. Instead the information is buried in some broad report classification.

It was always interesting to me that even though each cruiser is equipped with a GPS package that records all driving activity of every officer on every shift, the data was not routinely reviewed by any member of PD management for driving performance.

It is going to be difficult to manage a problem like this if there is no detailed information going to the management chain. But then, if they don't ask for it they don't have to act on it.

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