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

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 [...]


Florida bay scallops typically reach a shell height of three inches and have a life expectancy of one year. They have tiny blue eyes that help detect movement, and they can swim backward by opening and closing the two shells.

Scallop Researchers to Start Underwater Surveying

Now that the harvesting season is over, researchers are starting underwater studies to determine the state of scallop populations at 10 sites along the west coast of Florida.


At the initial hiring event in Orlando, Fla., 55 veterans and military personnel were in attendance. About 150 veterans have applied to work with the Department of Corrections since the initiative was launched on Jun. 26.

DOC Partners with National Guard, Hires Military Personnel

The Florida Department of Corrections partnered with the Florida National Guard to hire veterans and military personnel who are unemployed. These specialty hiring events last all day and are open to all branches in the Florida National Guard and Reserves.


photo

‘Pot Predicament’ Forum Fuels Amendment 2 Debate

A panel of four met to discuss Amendment 2 and medical marijuana at a Tuesday night forum on the University of Florida Campus. Alachua County Sheriff Sadie Darnell and former Florida House Speaker John Mills dominated the forum as they debated each other about legislation language and the need for medical marijuana.


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