Florida Highway Patrol

Florida Now Taking Car Crash Reports Online

Oct 23, 2013

Florida motorists who have minor car crashes now have a quicker, less expensive way to report them to the state. The highway safety department is hoping its online car crash reporting form helps people comply with a state law requiring accidents to be reported within ten days of happening.

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.

America's Most Wanted

A violation of a Florida highway safety law led to the June arrest of one of America’s Most Wanted. State troopers say it’s not only a lesson for motorists, it also caught a bad guy in the process.

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.

Capital Report: 05-31-2013

May 31, 2013

Federal forecasters say this is going to be a busy Atlantic hurricane season.  That season officially begins tomorrow (Saturday, June 1)  Meanwhile, as Sascha Cordner tells us, Florida officials are prepared and are hoping the state’s residents are, too.

Jessica Palombo / WFSU-FM

This week, a state trooper fired from the Florida Highway Patrol had a chance to defend himself at a hearing. The officer’s defense strategy is raising the question of whether lawmakers get free passes when they’re caught breaking the law.

Current and former troopers with the Florida Highway Patrol testified at the hearing, it’s common, unwritten policy to go easy on state lawmakers.

“This goes back to the academy. We were taught in the academy that if you stop a legislator, it would behoove you not to write a ticket,” retired Sgt. Gary Dawson said.

Jessica Palombo / WFSU-FM

It’s a long-standing unwritten policy among the Florida Highway Patrol not to ticket lawmakers when officers catch them speeding. That’s according to testimony from state troopers during an officer’s wrongful termination hearing on Wednesday.

Six-year veteran Highway Patrolman Charles Swindle was fired in March for writing tickets for offenses people didn’t commit. The charges came after a letter of complaint from a state lawmaker he’d pulled over for speeding on Interstate 10 in November.

Florida Gov. Signs Texting-While-Driving Ban Into Law

May 28, 2013

It will soon be illegal to send text messages while driving in Florida. Gov. Rick Scott signed a texting-while-driving ban into law on Tuesday.

Texting will be a ticketable offense only if police catch people doing it while they’re pulled over for something else, like speeding. And Nancy Rasmussen, with the Florida Highway Patrol, said, police can’t look at phones without a search warrant, so it might be hard to tell whether someone’s texting or doing something like using a GPS.

Florida Highway Patrol troopers are stepping up their patrol to make sure travelers are wearing their seatbelts. They’ll be cracking down on drivers over the next couple of weeks as part of a national campaign seat-belt enforcement campaign called Click It Or Ticket.

Captain Nancy Rasmussen with the Florida Highway Patrol says this campaign reminds drivers seat belts save lives.

Sascha Cordner / WFSU-FM

A new campaign is underway to reduce the number hit and run crashes across the state. There’s been an increase in these types of traffic accidents in the past two years. Florida Highway Patrol is hoping to get that number down by educating drivers about their responsibilities through a new campaign launched Monday.

Leon County Sheriff's Office

Law enforcement officials have apprehended a wanted felon after he escaped from a Georgia jail on Monday.  

32 year old Demetrius Walden escaped from the Colquitt County Jail on Monday, about 70 miles north east of Leon County. Walden was in custody for violating his probation and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. Walden escaped on Monday while on a jail work detail.

New Law Allows Headlight Flashing For Any Reason

Jan 2, 2013

Florida drivers can now flash their headlights and not worry about getting a ticket. A state law that went into effect on New Year’s Day allows brief headlight flashing for any reason.

Florida law still bans people from having flashing lights on their cars unless they’re law enforcement officers or driving emergency vehicles. But the new law adds allows for a quick headlight flash.

Florida Highway Patrol spokesman Lieutenant Jeff Frost said, law enforcement can’t ticket you, no matter why you do it.

The Florida Highway Patrol is defending itself against an investigative report criticizing how the agency handled the deadly Interstate-75 crash in late January. The agency’s response released Friday places much of the blame on the drivers in the incident, which left 11 people dead.

Click It ot Ticket campaign underway in Florida

May 21, 2012

The “Click it or Ticket” campaign starts Monday all across Florida and continues through Memorial Day weekend.  Captain Roger Norris with the Florida Highway Patrol say troopers are making sure everyone is wearing their seatbelt. He adds this campaign is about safety awareness.

“This is a general campaign. We’re just trying to keep people alive. We’re trying to educate the public, make sure they are wearing their seatbelts. We want everyone to wear it. It reduces the fatalities when you have a crash, it reduces the injuries, and that’s the big thing,” said Norris.

Florida Highway Patrol now hiring

May 11, 2012

There’s a generational shift at Florida’s Highway Patrol. As many officers are retiring, FHP is looking for new blood. Ryan Benk reports the law enforcement agency is looking to fill 132 positions.

The Florida Highway Patrol is seeking to increase its presence along the state’s roadways. The agency has announced its intentions of hiring 132 new officers for its next two recruit classes. FHP spokesperson Nancy Rasmussen says despite the retirements, there will be a net gain of officers on the road.