I am sure that most of you have heard of the FBI, CIA, ATF, and County Sheriffs, but have you heard of the DACS LE? In July, my husband was hired with the Florida Highway Patrol. On a recent trip to Tallahassee to the main training campus, he met some of the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services Law Enforcement Officers. He was surprised by the diversity of operations and tasks that these specialty law enforcement officers have to deal with and perform on a daily basis. He was sharing some pretty neat stories about what they do, and it reminded me of my interactions with DACS officers.
When I served as a State FFA Officer for Florida, the officer team and I toured different sectors of Florida Agriculture. We were fortunate to meet the DACS officers located at the Inspection Station on Interstate 10. At the Inspection Station, trucks, carriers, trailers and the like, passed through for an inspection of their goods. At this particular Inspection Station that were utilizing a VACIS, or Vehicle and Cargo Inspection System. It was literally a giant X-RAY machine. A vehicle would pass through the detector, and it would take images of the inside of the vehicle. The officer showed us photos of illegal immigrants hiding in wheel wells, inside the walls of the truck, even inside large feed barrels. After being introduced to the VACIS and the technology the DACS officer utilize to keep us safe, we then met some of their best officers – the K-9 dogs. These dogs were trained to smell citrus, food products, animals/creatures, and people! Unlike a city or county K-9 unit, these dogs were equipped and trained to deal with the specific needs of the agriculture department.
According to the Florida Ag law web site, “These Department officers support and supplement all of the Department’s regulatory and law enforcement programs by conducting inspections of highway shipments of agricultural, horticultural, aquacultural and livestock commodities. These regulations and programs ensure compliance with Federal and State Marketing Agreements and various laws, rules and regulations implemented to provide the consuming public a quality food product and/or prevent, control and eradicate specific plant and animal pests and diseases which could economically devastate segments of Florida’s agricultural industry. As Florida’s second largest state industry, agriculture has an economic impact of $100 billion annually” ( http://www.fl-aglaw.com/default.html).
It is amazing to know that our state and country will hire people to secure and safeguard our Agriculture industry! Thank a Farmer for the food and thank a DACS officer for keeping it- and us- safe!