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

First Magnitude Brewing Company in Gainesville fills growlers in the 32-ounce size (left) and the gallon size (right). A longstanding ban on the popular 64-ounce growler prevents Florida craft breweries from filling or selling containers of that size.

Lawmakers Pass Bill To Aid Craft Brewers, End Growler War

Senate Bill 186 could end a long war between craft brewers and big beverage distributors over regulation of beer sales. The bill lifts the problematic requirement that craft breweries operate as tourist attractions and allows the breweries to sell beer in the popular 64-ounce, refillable “growler.”


The FSU Veterans Center is pushing for a bill to allow student veterans to pay in-state tuition. The attention their cause has received nationwide has given them hope they may succeed this year.

Bill Passed To Let Child Rape Victims Record Attackers

The Florida Legislature is sending Gov. Rick Scott a bill that would let children who are victims or potential victims of rape and other violent acts secretly record their attackers. The bill applies to victims who are under the age of 18.


bell7

Abortion Waiting Period Bill Goes To Florida Governor

A bill to require a 24-hour waiting period for abortions is headed to Republican Gov. Rick Scott’s desk. The Senate voted 26-13 for the measure Friday after about an hour of debate.


The Alachua County Clerk of Court, located at 201 East University Ave., remained closed Saturday, April 18 during Operation Green Light. Assistant Clerk of Court Edward Stiles said that it would be too expensive to remain open for the promotion.

Waived Fees Help Drivers Save Money On Traffic Citations

As an effort to help traffic violators pay off citations, Clerks in the state of Florida initiated the money saving opportunity Operation Green Light. On Saturday, Alachua County hosted the promotion to waive fees to help residents cut the cost on paying off their citations.


Screen Shot

UF Students Welcome Bill Proposing Tax-Free Textbooks

A new law in Florida could help students save money on expensive textbooks. The bill looks to eliminate the sales tax from textbooks to give students a break on the hundreds they already spend on required texts.


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