Cutbacks For Rest Area Security

By: Jacquie Slater Email
By: Jacquie Slater Email

Tallahassee, FL -- March 19, 2012 --

A British tourist was murdered at a Jefferson County rest stop back in 1993. As a result, twenty-four hour armed security was put in place at rest stops statewide.

Now, DOT says they are cutting back those hours.

DOT conducted a pilot program in northwest Florida for a year. It tested 10 hours of overnight security. They say the cuts are cost effective and safe.

"There was no difference in the level of incidents that were occurring at our rest areas," said Ian Satter with the DOT.

Travelers say they aren't convinced.

"It concerns me. Because I feel that I'm not as safe in Florida as I should be," said Paula Humphrey's. Humphrey's was traveling with her family after visiting Disney World.

"We drive into these different places and we see a sign saying there's security and we're much more comfortable to stop at that particular place. When I see they're cutting back, it's kind scary," said Joe Steele. Steele travels to Florida each year from Canada.

In areas where rest stops are on each side of the highway, one guard will split their ten hours between the two sides. The result, about five hours of security at each stop.

"If we can reduce the security personnel and still maintain that high level of safety that we do have at our rest areas and save some money for the tax payers here in Florida, we took that opportunity to do so. We're gonna save five million dollars every year," said Satter.

Some people say the changes will impact the way they travel.

"We probably will get off the highway and stop at a station where we can be together more close and have more people around us," said Humphreys.

Travelers say for now the security signs are misleading.

DOT officials say they're unsure at this time how they're going to update that signage to reflect the changes.

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  • by dee Location: florida on Jun 10, 2012 at 02:48 PM
    whats it going to take a few rapes before people wake up and decide to do whats right .I have seen the midnite shift at the rest areas be women and no one there but them .
  • by Ellis Location: Florida on Apr 12, 2012 at 05:14 AM
    I fear that something will happen, DOT will shrug it's shoulders. Pay off the law suit and keep right on going. The law requiring security at rest areas will be rescinded by special interests liberal groups and then there will be none at all. Also despite the ignorant here these jobs paid pretty decent and the the work was enjoyable. My brother worked at one of these rest areas for a long time and was doing very well and was always told every day and night by people that they greatly appreciated him being there. Unlike the majority of security companies the one he was with paid better then anybody in the entire country and it is a very lucrative job. Granted it was unfortunate that he lost his this job along with about another 120 devoted security officers who worked these places for many years, but it still makes for trouble in the long run. No one except the pencil pushers in the big DOT office won out here. The security people are out of work and the traveling public are out of luck if they come by and the one officer is on the other side. To those with the have gun will travel moronic concept; the whole point is for anyone is this. To not have to get out of your car and wonder if you have to worry about a problem to begin with. Not everyone wants to carry a gun, bat or anything else. As for the goof about no security at fast foods, etc. You tend to forget the factors of remoteness and location. Can it happen anywhere, sure. But the percentage is more than likely it will happen outside an area not with police and lots of activity like Micky D's, and the like. Common sense is always the key to being safe but sometimes a little help is nice too.
  • by Andrew on Apr 8, 2012 at 05:07 AM
    We live in a world of "money" makes it go around. It's the typical human greed factor of all companies and organizations. Build a lot of stuff, make it nice and up grade. But don't worry about protecting it because it's a apathetic state of mind for these cut back fanatics. Firefighters, police, ems and security is the last thing on their minds. After all they are safe in those big glass towers and condo style offices they work in.
  • by Anonymous on Mar 22, 2012 at 05:12 PM
    This is Florida's biggest mistake not only do they cut Florida Highway Patrol jobs and salaries. Now they cut there off duty work at rest area's. They were already having to work these to pay bills. They put there lives on the line for us everyday to protect and serve and enforce this states laws. Well it's ok we all know Rick Scott doesn't care about the working people.
  • by Anonymous Location: Tally on Mar 22, 2012 at 08:17 AM
    I'm all for it. We need to stop relying on the gov't to protect us. Around here you must be aware and prepared to protect yourself at all times! Anything can happen anywhere.
  • by cd cone Location: tally on Mar 20, 2012 at 02:42 PM
    cut it all out ,,,I do not see security at mcdonald ,buger kind ,,at the jr. store, and on and on.....wasted money for years... It very sad the person got killed many years ago,,,,but come on it could happen any where..
    • reply
      by worried on Apr 1, 2012 at 12:14 PM in reply to cd cone
      How many civilians use Mcdonalds,Buger King and so on and on..... as a rest area. Lets be real. You would not be so forgiving if it was your family.
  • by themanfromtallahassee Location: tallahassee on Mar 20, 2012 at 09:10 AM
    The British tourist killing cost FLA more than 5M in revenue, prosecution costs and we're still paying for the guys in prison..not to mention the horrific circumstances the guy was killed in. I like seeing a state trooper at our rest stops. All sorts of trouble travels the interstates and its just nice for everyone to know when you are away from home in strange places that there is security at night. I think seeing law enforcement also encourages problem travelers to behave. This is a short sighted decision by the DOT. Like I said, 5 mil a year is nothing compared to the loss of revenue we will have if another Jefferson Co. incident takes place.
    • reply
      by Anonymous on Mar 20, 2012 at 11:05 AM in reply to themanfromtallahassee
      I agree. I think that using this as a safety issue in advertising could go a long way in recovering the 5 million. We depend on tourism in this state and yet we seem to forget them when the budget gets tight. We have to make Florida a place where tourists not only want to come, but come back over and over again, and making it less safe for tourists doesn't help.
  • by Anonymous on Mar 20, 2012 at 08:36 AM
    Ok, so lets examine everything here...Prior to 1993, there were no murders at the rest areas, and no security. Everything was fine. Because of 1 isolated incident at 1 rest area, we have to have security at all rest areas state-wide...FOREVER? What other states have 24hr security at rest areas? I would figure very few, if any. Do these travelers wait until they get to Fl to stop? No, they either provide their own security, or stop at areas where they "feel" safe. And don't blame Scott, there have been many other Governors who had to make budget cuts. Everyone wants an abundance of taxpayer funded state benefit jobs, and all the protections of a nanny state, but no one wants to pay the state to provide it. Who do you think pays the States bills? YOU DO!
    • reply
      by Anonymous on Mar 20, 2012 at 10:02 AM in reply to
      Do you really think Florida is the only state with rest area security?
  • by GV Location: Ga on Mar 20, 2012 at 07:07 AM
    Idiots,protect yourself.There's not a guard anywhere else you stop.What about the mcdonald's you stop at?You think it is the taxpayer's job to protect you at all times?If you don't feel safe then don't stop.Take care of yourselves and quit expecting someone else to take care of you.I don't see you idiots hollering about no security at mcdonald's.More people were killed in one shootout there than ever at a rest area.
  • by dog Location: gone on Mar 20, 2012 at 06:38 AM
    It's ok the hoffman's got the TAX Payer money , hope you feel better now.
    • reply
      by Anonymous on Mar 20, 2012 at 10:03 AM in reply to dog
      They got Tallahassee tax-payer money!
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