Florida Wildlife Commission 0 Jefferson Company - Wacissa River - Aucilla River - Officer K. Harvey game Rangers ripoff, law enforcement corruption, abuse of police power Tallahassee Florida
The purpose of this notice is to let everyone know about the low-down actions of some of the officers of the Florida Wildlife Conservation Commission.
On July 2, 2006 my family and I were at the Wacissa (also known as the Aucilla) River on a canoe trip. We had very little practice with a canoe and the canoe was brand new and we just wanted to try it out. The Wacissa River is one of the easiest canoe trails in the state of Florida, so we decided to start with it.
It is a very popular spot with the locals, many of whom picnic, drink beer, and party there. On that day, my husband, son, and ex-husband were in the canoe, paddling around enjoying the scenery (alligators, clear water, fish, vegetation).
About two hours in, a game ranger named Ken Harvey (we later were told he was a rookie) arrived and hung around, basically running everyone off, and being an all-around buzzkill. To make a long story short, he disregarded all the airboats, motorboats, and motorized fishing boats, to focus on the three in the canoe.
He said that they were not paddling in unity, they were paddling erratically, and they were not going straight in the canoe. This gave him probable cause to give them field sobriety tests, which they all passed. Then he took them to the Sheriff's office in Jefferson County to give them a breath-analysis test. All three blew exactly the same amount, which is highly unlikely in any case. They passed this test, and then were given urine tests. In the end, they were arrested, and charged with Boating Under the Influence; each count carries a fine of $2500.
The state of Florida depends heavily on tourism and I thought everyone should know how law enforcement officers abuse their power in this state, before making any vacation or outing plans. Above all, be aware that, if you are in a canoe, you and your passengers should be able to paddle like Olympic paddlers in order to avoid scrutiny by unscrupulous, lying game rangers on a power-trip.