Yesterday, June 02, 2004, at approximately one PM, I was traveling West on St. Route 710 , towards Okeechobee in a semi truck. Coming upon a much slower vehicle that was wandering on the road, I decided to pass. I felt I had plenty of time, as the oncoming traffic was quite a ways off, so I proceeded to pass, doing 65 mph, in a 60 mph zone. I wound up not having enough time for a good margin of safety. It appeared the older gentleman in the small pickup truck I was attempting to pass, had also sped up-- but cannot say for certain. I put my right turn signal on, and the pickup let me back into the right hand lane.
At any rate, the first person in the oncoming line of traffic was Trooper James A. Slay. I watched in the rear view mirror, and observed his brake lights come on, so I proceeded to get ready to stop :-) Sure enough, here he came, and gave me the 'blue light'.
As a former State of Florida Law Enforcement Officer, I'm well aware of what professionalism is, and how an Officer should conduct themselves on a traffic stop. Trooper Slay was professional, courteous, direct and proper in his dealing with me. I've also had a problem with 'stolen identity' with my driver's license recently, and he offered a few suggestions for me, that I hadn't been told by anyone, including attorneys.
He was even kind enough to show me the latest 'gadgets' that are onboard the patrol vehicle. I must say, I'm impressed. I was also sorry to see that Florida Law Enforcement Officers are still subjected to the same crappy Motorola radios we had ten years ago, when I was a member of the Florida Marine Patrol Aux, as well as Corrections Officer with the Florida Dept of Corrections. Some day, the dead spots those radios provide, will cost an Officer their life. If there's ever anything I can do to help allieviate that problem, please do not hesitate to notify me.
In this age of electronic 'everything', I'm happy to be able to comment on the great service Trooper Slay provides to the public. No one likes to be wrong when driving, and no one likes to admit they have made a mistake. But, I was wrong, and I made a mistake. And, I was caught 'in the act'. Trooper Slay acted in the highest traditions of professionalism for the Florida Highway Patrol, and I just thought someone would like to know how the troopers are acting during their daily activities. If the way I was handled by Trooper Slay was any indication of his normal demeanor, I'd humbly suggest he be nominated for Trooper of the Year. He is a credit to your agency.
Thanks for the opportunity for me to express my opinions, and watch your six out there.
J David Phillips
Crystal River, Florida, 34429