The Florida Department of Law Enforcement has watched its caseload swell in recent years as it tracks down officers who don’t play by the rules, the Orlando Sentinel reports. In the 2005-06 fiscal year, the agency’s Criminal Justice Standards and Training Commission disciplined 596 officers. In the 2009-10 fiscal year, 794 were punished — a 33 percent increase. During that time, the number of sworn officers in the state increased only slightly.
Officers can have their certification suspended or revoked for everything from writing bad checks and felony assault to non-criminal violations such as having sex on duty.
The volume of open cases alleging questionable police actions — criminal and non-criminal — increased nearly 34 percent between 2005 and 2010. No one is sure what accounts for the increase? Possible reasons range from agencies getting more serious about reporting police misconduct to policy changes in how those incidents are reviewed. The Sentinel found that fewer than 1 percent of all the state’s officers — law enforcement, correctional officers and correctional probation officers — are disciplined in any given year.