High-ranking official tells Fla. troopers to write 2 tickets an hour

Frederick Owens
August 13, 2017

Florida Highway Patrol troopers will be on the lookout for aggressive drivers around large trucks beginning today, as the department starts another initiative to target risky motorists. Petersburg, reacted Thursday to a Times/Herald report that Maj.

The email allegedly thanked the government for the troopers' 5 percent raise, which also increased overtime rates.

Major Mark Welch in Tallahassee emailed troopers under his command asking for two citations per hour. "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". He specified that it was not a quota, but a chance to support the Statewide Overtime Action Response (SOAR). Welch wrote that North Florida troopers are writing an average of 1.3 tickets per hour, but "that's not good enough ... so we have a goal to reach". Lt. Col. Mike Thomas, a three-decade veteran of FHP, said Welch could have chosen his words more carefully, but he is not imposing a quota.

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However, the president of the FHP chapter of the Florida PBA believes the email was setting the parameters for a quota.

Gene Spaulding said the department is committed to making highways safer for motorists and doing so by enforcing safe driving. "No one has ever taken discretion away from a patrol officer". That's a quota, and that's a violation of state statute, period.

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