Senate Passes 'Waldo Bill' Banning Traffic Ticket Quotas

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News Release: Associated Press
April 8, 2015

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) -- Traffic ticket quotas for law enforcement agencies would be illegal under a bill passed by the Florida Senate.

The so-called "Waldo Bill" (SB 264) passed unanimously with no debate Wednesday. It must still pass the House and be approved by the governor to become law.

The bill's nickname comes from the city of Waldo on heavily travelled U.S. 301, once considered one of the nation's worst speed traps. In 2014, Waldo police officers disclosed a quota system, and the Gainesville Sun reported that traffic tickets accounted for almost half the city's revenue. The police force has since been disbanded.

The bill also requires a city or county to report to state officials if traffic ticket revenue exceeds a third of the cost of operating its law enforcement agency.

News Release: Associated Press
October 1, 2014

WALDO, Fla. (AP) -- The City Council of a tiny north Florida town known as one of the nation's worst speed traps has voted to disband its small police force.

The Waldo City Council on Tuesday voted 4-1 to eliminate the department just weeks after the chief and interim chief resigned because of state investigations into many issues, including an illegal ticket quota.

City Manage Kim Worley told the Gainesville Sun that a Florida Department of Law Enforcement audit found many expensive computer and facilities fixes were needed, a cost the small town cannot afford.

The move follows a revolt by five Waldo officers, who alleged that they were forced to meet an illegal ticket quota and that evidence was being stored improperly by the department's interim chief.

News Release: Associated Press
September 6, 2014

WALDO, Fla. (AP) -- One of the two Waldo police chiefs suspended over the past month due to allegations of illegal ticket quotas has resigned.

The north Florida town this week agreed to allow the Alachua County Sheriff's Office to provide security.

Waldo Police Chief Michael Szabo was suspended Aug. 12 after a state investigation into the alleged quotas. The Ocala Star-Banner reports that Szabo resigned Friday evening.

Szabo's interim replacement was suspended after a group of officers complained at a city council meeting about the illegal ticket quotas.

City Manager Kim Worley says the agreement with the sheriff's office gives her time to find a permanent replacement who does not currently work for the police department.

State authorities also are investigating the ticket quota and other alleged misconduct by Szabo.