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

Garrett Holeve poses in the sunlight shining through a room full of punching bags at American Top Team in Weston. Florida on Oct. 19. Despite having Down syndrome, Garrett has proven himself to be a formidable opponent in mixed martial arts, or MMA. “You have to adjust a little bit, but you don’t want to go too easy on him either,” said John De Jesus, professional MMA fighter and occasional sparring partner for Garrett. “You can’t let him connect on you because he’ll knock you out!”

G-Money: In The Cage With Down Syndrome

Garrett “G” Holeve has Down syndrome, but his condition isn’t stopping him from pursuing his passion — mixed martial arts. G will face David Steffan on Nov. 8 in a long overdue fight against the odds.


Cassidy, an 18-month-old Lab/American Bulldog mix who was part of Academy 14 and his inmate trainer.

Paws On Parole Looking To Continue Perfect Adoption Rate

The Alachua County Animal Services and Florida Department of Corrections Work Camp is working together with this year’s “Hairy Pawter” dog academy to prepare a new group of house-trained dogs for homes.


A wild hog mills around outside the runway enclosure of Williston Municipal Airport. The hogs often explore around a water source by the neighboring rock quarry, Barry said.

Hog Infestation Halts Historic Airport Runway

A hog infestation at Williston Municipal Airport’s grass runway is causing delays in the approval of the runway by the Federal Aviation Administration.


Photos of the "Incredible Flying Cars," made by ITEC.

The Men Behind the Flying Car That Crashed in Marion County

A flying car crashed on Tuesday in Marion County after going on an orientation flight. Two passengers suffered minor injuries but are currently safe.


Gov. Scott Announced Funding For Final Phase Of Restoration Projects

Florida Gov. Rick Scott announced funding for the third and largest phase of early restoration projects to combat the Deepwater Horizon (BP) Oil Spill of 2010 on Oct. 7. Although $100 million was allocated to Florida by the Deepwater Horizon [...]


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
Day Sponsorship Payments
Underwriting Payments