Rest area security reduced - Fox29 WFLX TV, West Palm Beach, FL-news & weather

Rest area security reduced

TALLAHASSEE, FL (WFLX) - It was the 9-1-1 call heard round the world. "We've been shot at the Interstate Ten rest area in Monticello"

British tourist Gary Colley was shot and killed by four teens at the north Florida rest area. To keep tourists coming, the state established 24 hour security at every rest area.

Two years after the murder, rest areas went to nighttime only security.

Driver Peter Olofson says that's important. "I feel safe if I see a cop car. Otherwise, if it's empty, I don't feel very safe stopping."

Until March, there were 16 hours of security on each side of the highway. Now there is one ten hour shift to cover both sides of the highway.

Under the plan just put in place, security will spend an hour in one rest area, then go across the interstate and spend an hour over there."

The state did a four month trial of the new security plan and says not one of the five hundred people who wrote a comment card mentioned security. A directive tells contractors to log unusual incidents, but the DOT was unable to provide logs or crime statistics.

Ian Sattler, a DOT spokesman said, "If something does happen, on say the north side of the interstate, that security officer, if they're on the south side can respond quickly. They are right across the interstate, they have the ability to cross the interstate."

Signs at rest areas promised armed nighttime security. The state has no plans to alter the signs to say the security will be part time.

The reduced security will be in place for at least a year.

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