The Florida Highway Patrol Announces Three New Majors

~ Three Captains Promoted to Major ~

TALLAHASSEE, Fla.—Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) Director Colonel Gene Spaulding announced that Captains Derek Barrs, Keith Gaston and Steve Harris are being promoted to Major. Major Barrs will lead FHP Commercial Vehicle Enforcement (CVE) operations as Troop J Commander, Major Gaston will command the seven Regional Communications Centers (RCC) and Major Harris will lead Troop G – Jacksonville, effective October 30, 2015.

“All three majors have devoted themselves to the safety of Florida’s residents and visitors throughout their career,” said Col. Gene Spaulding. “They are a welcomed addition to the executive leadership staff and will help to further the mission of the Florida Highway Patrol.”

Troop G has nine counties that encompass the Ocala National Forest, a large segment of the St. Johns River and Florida’s first coast from St. Johns – Flagler County line north to the Florida – Georgia Stateline. Troop G has numerous historic areas and points of interest that attract visitors from around the world.

The communication centers are the FHP’s dispatch services and they are staffed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and 365 days a year. They are a vital link between residents who report an emergency situation and first responders who are called to respond to such events. The seven RCCs are located in Tallahassee, Jacksonville, Orlando, Tampa, Ft. Myers, Lake Worth and Miami. These centers are integrated with the Statewide Law Enforcement Radio System (SLERS), enabling FHP to dispatch for seven statewide law enforcement agencies.

Troop J – CVE is responsible for ensuring commercial motor vehicle safety to reduce the number and severity of commercial motor vehicle crashes. CVE also help protect the state’s bridge and highway infrastructure through traffic enforcement, commercial vehicle inspections, size and weight enforcement, and hazardous material enforcement. Troop J is comprised of 32 counties covering southern Florida.

Major Keith Gaston is a 35-year veteran of the Florida Highway Patrol. Major Gaston began his FHP career in 1980, serving in Troop F – Naples after graduating from the 60th Basic Recruit Class.

Major Steve Harris is a 25-year veteran of the Florida Highway Patrol who graduated from the Patrol’s 85th recruit class in December of 1990 and started his career in Troop C – Pinellas Park.

Major Derek Barrs is a 24-year veteran of law enforcement who began is law enforcement career in 1991. Major Barrs transferred into FHP after the Florida Department of Transportation’s Office of Motor Carrier Compliance merger in 2011.

The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles provides highway safety and security through excellence in service, education and enforcement. The Department is leading the way to a safer Florida through the efficient and professional execution of its core mission: the issuance of driver licenses, vehicle tags and titles and operation of the Florida Highway Patrol. To learn more about FLHSMV and the services offered, visit, follow us on Twitter @FLHSMV or find us on Facebook.