FORT MYERS, Fla. -- A WINK News investigation. We learned Florida Highway Patrol troopers who failed to make DUI arrests are being put on overnight shifts until they get one. We wanted to know if troopers have a quota to make. One lieutenant said arrests are just proof they're doing their job to make our roads safer.
In a memo obtained by WINK News, it shows a captain with the Florida Highway Patrol told his supervisors within the Ft Myers district on January 12, that troopers will work overnight until they get a DUI arrest. One defense attorney is questioning that policy.
The memo sent from Florida Highway Patrol Captain Tim Culhane to his supervisors is dated January 12, 2012 at 2:41 a.m. It says "members with no DUI arrests for 2011 will be scheduled to work a DUI shift every other Friday night from 7P-3A until they make a DUI arrest."
Lt. Greg Bueno said the memo is meant to remind troopers of their mission to provide safety and security.
"Impaired drivers is something that is prevalent on our roadways and its part of our agency's mission to remove them from the roadway," said Bueno.
Attorney Wilbur Smith said the memo could be used in court.
"What they're really doing is removing the officer's independent judgement and substituting for it an administrative requirement for arrest," said Smith.
The memo goes on to say "I find it hard to believe they went all year with PM and Midnights and did not get at least one. I worked one DUI shift and got one." Bueno said getting a certain number of DUI arrests is not their goal.
"We do not have a quota. The memo is concerning, trying to remind our troopers of what our mission is. Our mission is to remove impaired drivers from the roadway," said Bueno.
"The directive is clear here. You go make more DUI arrests. The implication is that you're not making arrests where people are drunk driving and so that reflects very poorly on the officers," said Smith.
Bueno said if troopers don't make arrests, they won't be disciplined but will be given the skills to do their job.
"If a trooper is not living up to what our established missions are, then we would re-direct that trooper to refresher training," said Bueno.
If taken to court, Smith said the memo could be used against the Florida Highway Patrol.
"If there is a defendant with a close case and their attorney knows about this document, I believe its going to lead to an acquittal," said Smith.
WINK News first spoke with Lt. Bueno on Tuesday. After speaking with Wilbur Smith on Wednesday, we reached out to Florida Highway Patrol for their response to his comments and they told us they have no further comment.