Fired State Trooper Appeals Finding Of 'Just Cause' In Lawmaker Speeding Case

Oct 16, 2013

Swindle waits to testify at the PERC hearing in May.
Credit Jessica Palombo / WFSU News

A Florida state trooper fired for writing minor tickets to lawmakers caught speeding is appealing a state commission’s finding that the Highway Patrol was justified in disciplining him. Charles Swindle got his job back recently when his firing was reduced to a 120-hour suspension.

With the new appeal, Swindle is trying to clear his name of wrongdoin.The Highway Patrol let him go when he caught lawmakers speeding last November but wrote them up not for speeding, but for not showing proof of insurance. Swindle testified he was acting in accordance with an unwritten, widespread agency policy to be lenient on legislators. His supervisor, now-retired Sgt. Gary Dawson, also testified troopers are instructed to look the other way when it comes to lawmakers.

The state Public Employees Relations Commission found just cause for Swindle’s discipline but disagreed with the severity of the punishment.