Florida Dept Of Highway Safety And Motor Biography & Facts
The Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) is a division of the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. It is Florida's highway patrol and is the primary law enforcement agency charged with investigating traffic crashes and criminal laws on the state’s highways.
A 2011 study by the Florida Highway Patrol Jurisdiction Team noted that "For all practical purposes, the FHP currently investigates all traffic crashes in the unincorporated areas of 24 counties, and in an additional 26 counties, the majority of crashes. In 17 counties, the Sheriff's Office conducts more crash investigations than the FHP."The FHP's functional role and responsibilities vary significantly among counties. The 2011 report noted, "The staffing methodology of the FHP is largely based on historical agency decisions, formal and informal arrangements with local governments, and to some degree political influence...There is a disparity in the level of services provided to local governments that cannot be explained. In places like Orange, Escambia, Marion, and many rural counties, the FHP handles all traffic crash investigations in unincorporated areas. In other counties like Duval, Broward, and Palm Beach, the Sheriff handles a majority of traffic crash investigations on the same type of roadways. All other Florida counties fall somewhere among or between these extremes."FHP has statewide jurisdiction, but shortfalls in FHP staffing sometimes lead to sheriff's offices and city police forces picking up more work, straining resources. Of the annual average long-form traffic crash reports completed by Florida law enforcement agencies, the 2011 study found that FHP investigated 32% of crashes, county sheriff's offices 23%, and municipal police and other agencies 45%. FHP investigates 58% of traffic fatalities in the state; these investigations are substantially more complicated than non-fatal traffic investigations.
The FHP was established in 1939 under Colonel H. Neil Kirkman. Troopers originally patrolled on motorcycles; among the first patrol cars used by the force was the 1940 Ford De Luxe.In 1948, Florida received national recognition for its driver license program from the National Safety Council.In 1994, the FHP, in collaboration with all ten cellular phone companies operating in Florida, launched a "Dial *FHP" program, which allowed the public to make free phone calls to FHP to report highway offenses (such as drunk and reckless driving) as well as motorists in distress. The program became very popular.On July 1, 2011, the Office of Motor Carrier Compliance (a state law enforcement agency responsible for commercial vehicle laws in the state) was transferred from the Florida Department of Transportation to the FHP (which is a division of the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles). The consolidation was a result of Senate Bill 2160, passed by lawmakers during the 2011 Legislative Session, which gave responsibility for commercial vehicle licensing, registrations, fuel permits, and enforcement to DHSMV.In 2013, the agency fired a trooper who declined to give speeding tickets to two state legislators who had been pulled over. The trooper won reinstatement after arguing that he was following an unwritten FHP practice of not issuing citations to state legislators, who control the agency's budget.The FHP has launched a series of anti-aggressive driving campaigns, including "Operation Safe Ride" (2004–2005). FHP also launched the "Statewide Overtime Action Response" (SOAR) program targeting traffic enforcement in areas deemed high priority. An investigation by the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles' office of inspector general into the SOAR program found that more than a dozen troopers, including several with decades of service had committed misconduct by receiving overtime pay for hours spent not working, among other offenses; some of the troopers were fired, while others were suspended or internally disciplined. The troopers' lawyers argued that their clients had followed a longstanding unwritten FHP rules.
A 2021 study in the American Economic Review found that minorities were significantly less likely to receive discounts on their traffic tickets than White drivers; the study estimated that 42% of FHP troopers practiced racial discrimination.
Ranks and organization
The director of the Division of Highway Patrol is the commander of the FHP, and has the rank of Colonel; the deputy director of the Division of Florida Highway Patrol has the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. The FHP is divided into two bureaus: the Bureau of Records and Training (which, among other duties, operates the Florida Highway Patrol Academy in Tallahassee) and the Bureau of Field Operations. The enforcement activity of the Bureau of Field Operations is divided into a Northern Region and a Southern region, each headed by a chief. FHP's Special Services Command and Commercial Vehicle Enforcement are also headed by a chief of equal rank to the regional commanders.The Northern region consists of consisting of Troops A, B, G and H, and the Southern region consists of Troops D,F,L and E . These troops are assigned responsibility for enforcement activity with specific areas (a cluster of counties). A few troops have statewide or regional responsibilities, including troops charged with weigh station enforcement. Troop K patrols Florida's Turnpike, Troop I covers commercial vehicle enforcement for North Florida, and Troop K covers commercial vehicle enforcement for South Florida. The troop commander of each troop holds the rank of captain.Promotion of troops to the ranks of corporal (trooper II), sergeant, lieutenant, and captain require specific minimum times in service and passage of a promotional examination. Promotion to corporal requires a written examination; promotion to sergeant and lieutenant requires a written examination and assessment, and promotion to captain requires a written examination and interview.
As of 2004, the FHP had 1,654 full-time, sworn personnel. This was about 10 full-time troopers for every 100,000 residents, one of the lowest ratios in the country.The FHP's website stated in 2021 that the agency was authorized for a total of 2,475 full-time employees (1,946 sworn and 529 non-sworn).
In 1979, the United States Department of Justice sued the Florida Highway Patrol, alleging race and sex discrimination in employment. The State of Florida entered into a settlement with the Justice Department, which was incorporated into a consent decree entered by the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida on July 12, 1979. The Consent Decree required the Patrol to hire more minorities and women. In 1985, following a policy change by the Reagan administration, the Justice Department changed its position and required agencies with existing affirmative action consent decrees, including the Florida Highway Patr.... Discover the Florida Dept Of Highway Safety And Motor popular books. Find the top 100 most popular Florida Dept Of Highway Safety And Motor books.