FHP brass has no right to demand ticket quota, lawmaker says
A key legislator who oversees the Florida Highway Patrol's budget said a high-ranking FHP official had no authority under state law to order troopers to write more tickets.
Sen. Jeff Brandes, R-St. Petersburg, reacted Thursday to a Times/Herald report that Maj. Mark Welch, who oversees troopers in an eight-county region that includes a long stretch of Interstate 10, told his staff in a recent email to write two citations an hour while working overtime. "Two citations each hour," Welch wrote. "This is not a quota." He called it "a goal to reach."
"Florida doesn't have quotas," Brandes said. "Quotas are not something I support. That is against everything the Florida Highway Patrol should be doing. The FHP is about safety. It's not about meeting quotas."
Asked how the Legislature would react to Welch's memo, Brandes said: "We should be concerned."
Brandes is chairman of the Senate budget committee for all transportation-related spending in Florida. Next week, Gov. Rick Scott and the Cabinet will discuss a request by the FHP's parent agency, the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, to give troopers 10 percent raises next year.