Trooper fired over traffic ticket returns to work


TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – After being fired six months ago, a Florida Highway Patrol trooper is going back to work, but the trooper's fight isn't over.

An unwritten rule caused Florida Highway Patrol Trooper Charles Swindle to lose his job at a traffic stop.

Swindle was fired for giving a state lawmaker a $10 ticket instead of a $250 speeding ticket. The lawmaker complained, Swindle was fired.

The trooper fought back, and an appeals panel said the firing was too harsh.

Swindle is going back on the road now, and his attorney says even though his client is going back to work, the fight continues.

"If he does any little minuet thing wrong they can fire him as a second offense," Swindle's attorney, Sid Matthew, said.

Trooper Swindle will return to work at Troop H in Tallahassee on Friday. FHP wouldn't go on camera about the case, but released a statement.

In part of the release states:

"The Department reiterates its commitment to holding our employees accountable when their actions violate the public trust, that we, as law enforcement officers, have been given."

With one strike against Swindle, a minor infraction may make it easier for him to be fired again.

"If we have to appeal to the District Court of Appeal to get his record cleared and named cleared, we're going to do that," Matthew said.

But in the meantime, Swindle says he is ready to be back on the roads.

"I'm happy to be going back to work. I'm ready to get back out there and do my job," Swindle said.

The case will likely be tied up in an appeals court for up to a year. Also undecided is whether Swindle will get back lost overtime pay amounting to $25,000.

Trooper Swindle received his reinstatement letter on Monday.