JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Unauthorized dashcam video of one Jacksonville police officer pulling over another for going 94 mph on Interstate 95 prompted questions about patrol cars obeying traffic laws.
Former Sgt. Rob Smith, who just retired from the department and recorded the video on his own dashboard camera, said the officer was speeding, cutting in and out of traffic without the patrol car's emergency lights or siren activated.
The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office only uses dashcams on cars assigned to DUI patrol.
When Smith caught up to and pulled over the officer, he learned from dispatch that she was off-duty, but responding to a SWAT call of someone on the Acosta Bridge.
Smith had to go over 100 mph to catch up to the officer. He gave the video to News4Jax because he was concerned that the officer was counseled, but not disciplined.
Officer says 'sorry'
"I was going to a call," Officer D.P. Gibson is heard saying on the video. "Sorry; sorry."
"You were doing 94, driving like a freaking maniac," Smith told her. "Do me a favor. If you’re going run like that, you’ve got to have your lights on, because people, that’s when people, you know, get a bad rap on us all, right. All right?"
Smith did not write Gibson a ticket, but he did file a complaint with her supervisors. He recently learned that the officer involved was given a verbal counseling -- told not to speed anymore without lights and siren.
Smith is not upset with the officer, but with her two supervisors for not taking what he believes to be more appropriate action.
JSO Undersheriff Pat Ivey told the I-TEAM that the department investigated the incident and the officer was warned. He believes the supervisors took the right approach. He hopes in cases like these that the officer will use better judgment and use the sirens and lights when policy calls for it.
News4Jax crime and safety expert Gil Smith shared Smith's concerns, adding that without emergency lights and sirens, a speeding police car pose a danger to motorists who have no warning.
"She is driving at a very high rate of speed," Smith said. "It’s not very heavy traffic at this point, so I don’t see people trying to avoid her. She doesn't appear to be running people off the road."
But Smith said Gibson's background showed no previous problems, and she had a good reason to be going so fast, because she was headed to a SWAT call.
"Once I found out what she was doing and why she was traveling at a high rate of speed, no it’s not a problem," Smith said.
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