Commander asks troopers to write more tickets

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (CAPITOL NEWS SERVICE) - In a memo from FHP troop Commander Major Mark Welch, he tells troopers the patrol wants to see two tickets an hour.

"We are at 1.3 so we have a goal to reach," he said. He also added "this is not a quota."

The Police Benevolent Association, which represents troopers, says it is.

Florida Statute 316 specifically outlaws quotas.

"A quota is a quota, and unfortunately this memo sounds like a quota," said Matt Puckett from the PBA.

But the PBA also calls the memo distracting from the real issue: low pay and a shortage of troopers.

"The focus should be putting more troopers on the road, getting them the pay that they need," Puckett said.

The Major who wrote this memo is the former spokesman for the Highway Patrol, but they wouldn't make him available so he could personally clarify what he meant.

FHP made Lt. Col Michael Thomas available to talk. He says the major could have used better language.

"There is nothing that says the trooper has to do this [meet a quota] or there will be some imposed penalty to them," said Thomas.

FHP gets no money from the tickets its troopers write.

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In response to the above article, on Friday, 08/11/2017, The Florida Highway released this memo:

FHP Command Staff,

DHSMV has a longstanding mission of highway safety to protect Florida residents and visitors on our roadways. 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
Executive Director
Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles