Fired Highway Trooper Who Went Easy On Lawmakers Wins Hearing Officer's Sympathy

Jun 10, 2013

Former State Trooper Charles Swindle waits to testify at his hearing in May.
Credit Jessica Palombo / WFSU-FM

A Florida State Trooper fired after being lenient on state lawmakers caught speeding, could be getting his job back. A hearing officer’s report released on Monday says, the trooper was caught in a "no-win situation" and should be reinstated.

Hearing officer Gregg Morton is recommending for Trooper Charles Swindle’s firing to be reduced to a 15-day suspension without pay. He also said, the Florida Highway Patrol owes Swindle back pay since his March firing.

Retired Highway Patrol Sgt. Gary Dawson testified at Swindle’s hearing that it’s unwritten Highway Patrol policy to give lawmakers a ticket for a lesser offense than speeding.

“I’ve done that myself many, many a time, and people are very grateful for the consideration," Dawson said.

Morton said, his ruling is also based on Swindle’s six years of service with a stellar record, including several letters of recommendation and his high rate of DUI arrests.

Morton’s recommendation must be ratified by a three-member committee before Swindle can be reinstated. Both sides have 15 days to file exceptions to the recommendation.

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