MIAMI (WSVN) - Florida Highway Patrol officers in Miami-Dade were rewarded with time off for writing tickets, according to a joint report by the Miami Herald and the Times Tallahassee Bureau.
The report revealed that state officials are examining practices in which FHP officers around the state are being rewarded for writing tickets. Troopers in Miami-Dade are reported to be granted the choice of weekends off based of their performance.
Troopers said a memo issued by a captain at FHP praised the work of several officers and stated, “Sergeants, please get with these members and schedule their weekend pass.”
This comes to light after state officials confirmed a high-ranking FHP official told troopers to write two tickets per hour to justify a pay raise.
“Just because they wanna reach the limit, they shouldn’t,” said one driver.
“I hate to think that they’re out there just targeting people, but hopefully not,” said driver Bond Oman.
Florida law prohibits law enforcement agencies from establishing traffic citation quotas.
“It’s illegal,” said driver Bryant Grosso, “so I mean, if the police need to be policed, that’s a problem.”
The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, FHP’s parent agency, reacted with a state-wide warning to command staff.
“It is more important than ever before that FHP be proactive in their efforts, but members should never be encouraged to meet specific citation numbers. I am directing you to ensure that no quotas are being issued from our troops and that no performance metrics are impacted by a quota,” said Florida DHSMV Executive Director Terry Rhodes.
A program in Miami-Dade has been canceled as of late last week. Some troopers have been rewarded with not having to work as many weekends because of so-called “high activity,” and ticket-writing was included in that measurement.
Florida DHSMV Communications Director Beth Frady spoke to 7News about the program by phone.
“There were no quotas as part of that program. No additional days off were provided. No additional cost to tax payers resulted,” said Frady. “It was merely switching their days.”
Frady also said the program was canceled so that they don’t give the wrong impression.
“I break that law, I’m gonna be ticketed,” said Grosso, “so what happens to the people that allow this to happen?”
An FHP union leader said he is waiting to see what is going to happen in North Florida and if there will be a punishment.
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