FHP Accused of Ticket Quotas

The Tallahassee station of the Florida Highway Patrol

The Tallahassee station of the Florida Highway Patrol

A high-ranking police official recently told troopers under his command to write at least two tickets an hour.

The Tampa Bay Times reports Maj. Petersburg, who oversees the FHP budget as chairman of the Senate's transportation budget committee, said Welch has no authority to tell troopers to write more tickets. Mark Welch of Troop H sent out the email.

However, Welch says the "important initiative" is meant to decrease injuries and the numbers of fatal crashes, as he claims "our fatality rate is at all-time high". The initiative, paid for by taxpayers, allows Florida State Troopers to make extra money patrolling high-traffic areas.

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During the campaign, troopers will ticket drivers displaying aggressive behavior, such as following too closely, speeding and changing lanes in an unsafe manner, the Highway Patrol said.

Despite the appearances of the email request sounding like a quota, a FHP veteran interviewed by the Times believes it was poor communication, but there is nothing nefarious in Welch's request.

Florida law prohibits the setting of ticket quotas.

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FHP made Lt. Col Michael Thomas available to talk. "We're just trying to promote our guys getting out, making the stops, having contact with the public, educating them, and we do have discretion".

Florida Statute 316 specifically outlaws quotas. "No ifs, ands or buts", William Smith said.

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