TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) -- A top official with the Florida Highway Patrol has told troopers they aren't writing enough speeding tickets.
The Tampa Bay Times reports Maj. Mark Welch of Troop H in Tallahassee told troopers under his command via email that "the patrol wants to see two citations each hour" adding that it's not a quota. He said it's "what we are asking you to do to support this important initiative."
Under the SOAR -- Statewide Overtime Action Response -- initiative, troopers can make extra money by working the road.
Welch noted the 5 percent pay raise the Legislature and Gov. Rick Scott recently gave troopers, noting that it "has also increased your overtime rate."
State figures show troopers wrote 934,965 citations in 2014 compared to 749,241 last year.
The Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles has issued this letter in response to the ticket story from the Associated Press:
SUBJECT: Quotas are not permitted within the Florida Highway Patrol
I am proud of the work of our Florida Highway Patrol troopers and the critical role that they play in ensuring motorists Arrive Alive.
By now, I know you will have seen the media stories and press statements that have been released regarding an email asking that two citations be written every hour while troopers work overtime enforcement duty.
Let me be very clear: Quotas have no place within the Florida Highway Patrol.
Getting in the black and tan to patrol the roadways is expected. Helping to educate and assist motorists is expected. Protecting lives is expected. Quotas are not part of our mission operationally or legally.
It is more important than ever before that FHP be proactive in their efforts, but members should never be encouraged to meet specific citation numbers. I am directing you to ensure that no quotas are being issued from our troops and that no performance metrics are impacted by a quota.
Florida Highway Patrol troopers are the most elite law enforcement officers in the state and trained to address dangerous violators using their discretion with the ultimate goal of saving lives. I value that discretion. Those we serve expect and value that discretion.
From educating and providing guidance for new and inexperienced drivers to knocking on a loved one’s door at all hours of the night having to deliver a next of kin notification, Florida Highway Patrol troopers are heroes. The Florida Highway Patrol’s interactions with the public has a lasting positive impact on those we serve and our members’ commitment to protecting lives is what will ultimately help us achieve our mission of highway safety and security.
I look forward to discussing this matter with you when you are in Tallahassee later this month.
Thank you for your dedication and service to our state.
Terry L. Rhodes, DHSMV Executive Director