Thursday, August 10, 2017

Florida in focus: A speeding ticket quota at Florida Highway Patrol? You decide

By Watchdog News - August 10, 2017 at 08:10AM

Tampa Bay Times: A speeding ticket quota at Florida Highway Patrol? You decide

A top official of the Florida Highway Patrol has told the troopers under his command that they are not writing enough speeding tickets. Maj. Mark Welch of Troop H, based in Tallahassee, said in an email (below): “The patrol wants to see two citations each hour … This is not a quota; it is what we are asking you to do to support this important initiative.”

The initiative is SOAR, or the Statewide Overtime Action Response program, paid for by taxpayers. State troopers, who are among the lowest-paid in the country, can make extra money working the roads, and part of their job is to deter speeders.

In his email, Welch noted that highway patrol officers recently got a 5 percent pay raise, thanks to the Legislature and Gov. Rick Scott, “which has also increased your overtime rate.” North Florida troopers are writing an average of 1.3 tickets per hour in the SOAR program. Welch said that that’s not good enough, “so we have a goal to reach.”

Tallahassee Democrat opinion: Candidates shouldn’t try to hide public records

Every candidate for every office promises to run the most open, transparent, above-board administration you’ve ever seen.

No secret meetings. No backroom deals or hidden documents. No more wink-and-a-nod fixeroos on government contracts.

And then, once elected, they pretty much do operate openly — at least, as openly as the Sunshine Law requires. When sunshine gets inconvenient, there are ways to pull the shades.

It’s highly unusual, though, for a politician to seek official secrecy while also running for office. When you’re a candidate, you want to appear as candid as possible — “candid” being the word that “candidate” comes from.

WJXT 4: Gun thefts climbing in Florida

Gun theft is climbing in the U.S. according to a Center for American Progress report. Florida ranks third in the nation for stolen guns.

The report found in 2015 alone, $9.2 million worth of guns were reported stolen from gun owners—many of these taken from cars and homes.

Earlier this week, JSO tweeted out that ‘in a recent seven day period- ten guns were stolen from unlocked cars’.

The numbers in Florida are really climbing not only from individual gun owners but also from gun stores.

In 2012, 233 guns were stolen from gun stores in Florida. Last year, that number was 662.