Officers respond after report finds some Florida police are not being ticketed for red light running

 
Several law enforcement agencies across Palm Beach County and into the Treasure Coast say red light violations by officers are reviewed.
 
Allan Ortman with the City of West Palm Beach Police Department said 99.9 percent of the time, officers can  justify running a red light. 
 
"If they are in route to a call, we can check that with our records, and they were doing what they were trained to do," said Ortman. "In the event that they are not, they can be disciplined for their actions."
 
Ortman said there are times when an officer needs to get to an incident quickly and safely through a red light, but that officer is expected to come to a full stop, then proceed with caution. 
 
It may not always be obvious to a member of the public when an officer is responding to a call, Ortman said.
 
"The biggest misconception is that people see officers go through a traffic light with their lights on or their lights and siren on, and then immediately turn them off once they leave the intersection, and everybody thinks, they just did that for their own convenience, when that's not necessarily true," Ortman said.
 
Due to the way the public responds to flashing lights, it may be safer and faster for an officer to proceed without them, according to law enforcement.
 
"Down here, especially, people panic with blue lights and sirens behind them," Ortman said. "So if an officer doesn't have to use them, he finds it safer to go without them than to use them."
 
A spokesperson with the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office said there are policies in place to make sure officers obey laws and procedures to keep themselves and others safe.
 
"For the most part, the officers are responding to a call for service of some sort, whether it could be an accident, whether it could be a battery, an assault, a burglary, a host of things, and their effort is to try to get through that intersection and move on. Officers don't need to run their lights and siren if nobody is in front of them to get people out of the way," Ortman explained.
 
When a violation is reviewed in West Palm Beach, Ortman said the officer needs to justify their actions. Officers are expected to obey traffic laws unless they are responding to a call.
 
"That officer is held to a higher standard, and he's going to," Ortman said. "If he's found to violate our policies on red lights, or use of emergency equipment, he can go anywhere from a written reprimand, a verbal reprimand, to a written reprimand, to a suspension."
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