Orlando Police Misuse Driver’s License Database

cops misuse police databaseSince December, the Orlando Police Department has disciplined twelve of its members for misuse of the Driver and Vehicle Information Database. Also known as DAVID, this system provides a database for officers to research driver information.  An Internal Affairs report released via a records request revealed the accused officers using the DAVID system to look up information unrelated to their duties. Investigators say that they retrieved their own records data as well as that of family members. The 12 accused policemen have not contested the charges and waived their rights to an investigation.

Information Found with a Driver’s License

Some of the information officers were looking up involved everything from verifying their own driver’s license was valid to information about other fellow employees in the department. This type of misuse is a serious offense according to the OPD, and many of the officers who accessed DAVID for inappropriate reasons received 8-hour suspensions. The department will also hold a training session about the DAVID system later this year, as well as include such additional training for new hires and annual on the job training reviews.

The type of information the DAVID system provides to an officer based on a driver’s license number:

  • Driving history
  • Driver’s license photos – all of them ever taken
  • Citations
  • Vehicles registered to the driver
  • Court decisions related to traffic
  • Emergency contacts
  • Spouses

The opportunity for a user to abuse the system is apparent after the recently-released Internal Affairs report. While groups like the Citizens’ Police Review Board approve of OPD’s punishment of the offending officers, many feel a constant watch is necessary to prevent and/or limit future misuse.

The twelve officers who violated DAVID access rules looked up information for a variety of reasons. Some of these included:

  • On five occasions an officer looked up her personal driver’s license validity after paying late on her car insurance
  • Three officers searched their own personal information
  • A school resource officer and two department officers looked up records of their family members
  • An officer looked up two female coworkers to determine what one looked like before and where another was working
  • A detective needed to get his wife’s licensing information for insurance registration
  • A detective looked up personal information about himself and that of his daughter

While many of these improper reasons for accessing the DAVID system might seem minor on the surface, there is an opportunity for more egregious offenses against others. Stalking and retribution against those who file complaints against the department are serious issues that have precedent. In Polk County, a sheriff’s deputy retrieved a woman’s information from a battery complaint and contacted her on social media for reasons not involving her case. These are serious offenses that many police departments throughout Florida, and the United States, have discovered are on the rise.

Orlando Defense Lawyers Protect Citizens’ Rights

If you or a loved one experience intimidation or unsolicited communication by police because of unauthorized DAVID queries, consider hiring a knowledgeable Orlando defense attorney to protect your privacy and rights. While this database is designed with the best of intentions to help law enforcement do their jobs effectively, abuse may occur. It is important not to allow officers who practice such behavior to get away with it and harass you.

The Umansky Law Firm understands that unauthorized use of the DAVID system violates one’s most basic right to privacy, and this information should only be used in specific situations. We use our over 100 years of combined experience to protect you and your family from this abuse of power, and as former prosecutors, will pursue your case aggressively. Contact us today at (407) 228-3838 if you believe you are a victim of law enforcement misusing DAVID to use information found against you.