WUFT News

‘800-pound man in a speedo,’ sharks, and more make inspection work unique for Florida’s agricultural law officers

By on December 4th, 2012

This isn’t an ordinary day job. The shifts are 12 hours. The office is open 365 days a year, 24 hours a day. And water cooler talk centers around encounters with swarms of honeybees, famous Clydesdales and Santa’s reindeer.

Whether they’re inspecting vehicles, checking paperwork or chasing lawbreakers, a day in the life of an agricultural law enforcement officer is usually more colorful than typical.

The Office of Agricultural Law Enforcement under the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services is the state’s first line of agricultural defense. Commercial vehicles transporting food, livestock, building materials, plants and furniture are just some of the vehicles subject to inspection at any of the 19 northbound and southbound agricultural inspection stations located across north Florida.

Officer Jason Ross has been working with the Office of Agricultural Law Enforcement since 2000. He started at Florida Gateway College, formerly Lake City Community College, studying library science but decided to switch to law enforcement. He said he likes the variety that the job offers.

Tasks ranging from traffic stops to food safety and livestock inspections take up a typical shift.

But it’s the people they stop and the cargo they inspect that makes the job so unique.

In the summer months, the heat can get to the drivers, which means far less clothing than some officers would prefer. Even in November, as temperatures in Florida typically cool off, a driver came through without a T-shirt.

“An 800-pound man in a speedo — that just ain’t cool,” said Officer Randall “Peanut” Roberts.

Along with typical livestock, such as pigs and horses, sharks, kangaroos and grizzly bears have also come through the station. Ross has a small collection of photos of some of these animals on his phone.

“This, I guess, is not what you would call a traditional law enforcement agency,” Ross said.


This entry was posted in Florida and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.
 

More Stories in Florida

medicalmj

Medical Marijuana Supporters Renew Legalization Efforts With New Petition

Supporters of medical marijuana legalization went to court houses all over Florida on Friday in an effort to acquire the signatures needed to put the issue on the 2016 ballot. They need a total of 683,149 signatures, according to Ben Pollara, campaign manager for United for Care, an organization dedicated to legalizing medical marijuana.


Marion County Plane Crash

Two People Dead In Weirsdale Plane Crash

Two people are dead after a single-engine aircraft crashed in Weirsdale, Fla. today. Marion County officials conducted early investigations before handing over to the FAA and NTSB.


Jimmy Nelson, owner and host of television show Extreme Fishing Adventures, films for an episode in Key West, Fla., in January 2011. Nelson, 36-year-old Dunnellon resident, gave up real estate in 2008 to host his own fishing show.

Dunnellon Resident Hosts Fishing Television Show

Jimmy Nelson, a resident of Dunnellon, Florida, grew up with an affinity for water and fishing. After his job as a real estate agent was affected by the 2006 housing market decline, Nelson began his journey of turning his fishing hobby into a television career.


Wild Waters park in Ocala, Fla. is scheduled to phase-out and shut down in 2016, much to the chagrin of long-time visitors.

Wild Waters Phase-Out Plan Upsets Visitors

Officials at Wild Waters Water Park in Ocala are moving forward with plans to phase out the park and turn it into an ecotourism site by 2016. Long-time fans of the park are protesting the loss of one of Florida’s crown jewels. The Florida Department of Environmental Protection hopes to curb the 2 million gallons of water the park drains each month from Ocala’s water system.


Flooding in front of a home on Sugar Hill Road in Steinhatchee, Fla.

Flooding Forces Dixie County Residents From Homes

Dixie County residents are being pushed out of their homes as flood waters rise after heavy rain in the past 24 hours. About 45 homes and 30 roads have been affected throughout the county.


Thank you for your support

WUFT depends on the support of our community — people like you — to help us continue to provide quality programming to North Central Florida.
Become a Sustainer
I want to support FM 89.1/NPR
I want to support Florida's 5/PBS
Donate a Vehicle
Underwriting Payments