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Dade City officer, candidate tangle over traffic stop

DADE CITY — Whenever someone makes a complaint to the Dade City Police Department, the concern must be addressed.

Sometimes the issue leads to a small stack of public records, like when Dade City Commission candidate Jim Shive complained that he was treated rudely by an officer during a February traffic stop.

He told the officer the Police Department would be one of the "issues" he would address as a city commissioner, according to a department memo.

Shive was pulled over on the afternoon of Feb. 29. Officers said he drove 31 mph in a 15 mph school zone.

Shive said the incident occurred while his mother was ill. She died Monday.

During the stop, Charles Payton, a new officer at the department, had to tell Shive several times to remain in his car, according to a memo. Shive told the Times he wanted to get his wallet out of the backseat and didn't hear the officer's order to stay inside.

Shive then identified himself as a city commissioner, according to the police reports. Shive denied saying he was a commissioner.

Looking back, Payton said Shive might have said he was running for the commission.

"I may have misunderstood," Payton said Tuesday.

Officers said Shive became annoyed during the stop.

"Do you know who I am?" Shive said, according to the report. "Everybody knows me."

Shive told the Times he thought he recognized an officer who was with Payton.

"Most people know who I am, I believe," he said.

Shive was issued a ticket for violation of a traffic control device. The accompanying fine: $121.50.

He was actually cut a break.

If the officer had charged Shive with speeding in a school zone, the ticket would have been more than $300.

Eight days later, Shive campaigned in Payton's neighborhood. Unknowingly, he knocked on the officer's door.

Both were surprised.

"We shook hands and I said, 'Don't you look familiar?' And he said, 'I was the guy who just gave you a ticket,' " Shive said.

Shive told Payton he didn't want to get into a "big thing" with him. He said Payton needed to work on his "people skills," according to a police memo.

Payton kept his mouth shut.

Shive said the department was an issue he would address as commissioner, Payton said.

Shive told the Times he's heard complaints on the campaign trail that the police don't patrol the city's neighborhoods. Most citizens don't know their city's officers, and in a small area like Dade City, citizens should know officers by name, he said.

The day after he knocked on Payton's door, Shive spoke with police Capt. David Duff. Payton was rude and told him to shut up, Shive told Duff, according to a police memo.

Shive told the Times that Payton did not state his name and was "aggressive."

"In a small town, officers need to be friendly," Shive said Monday.

Payton denied telling Shive to shut up.

Duff said he has received no other complaints about Payton, who has been on the force about three months and is completing his final stages of training.

His training officer, Tony Richardson, was with Payton during Shive's traffic violation. In a memo to the Police Department, he wrote that Payton conducted himself in a professional manner "and at no time did I consider his behavior rude or discourteous."

Helen Anne Travis can be reached at htravis@sptimes.com or (813) 435-7312.

Dade City officer, candidate tangle over traffic stop 03/18/08 [Last modified: Thursday, March 20, 2008 3:38pm]
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