Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Despite PHSC police academy's perfect audit, Pasco and Hernando sheriffs still plan to leave

Pasco County Sheriff Chris Nocco has criticized the academy’s instructors, facilities and procedures.

Pasco County Sheriff Chris Nocco has criticized the academy’s instructors, facilities and procedures.

NEW PORT RICHEY — As one of her main points to keep the Pasco Sheriff's Office from ceding from Pasco-Hernando State College's police academy, president Kathryn Johnson pointed out that the academy had recently received a flawless audit by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.

The argument didn't move members of the Region 9 Criminal Justice Training Commission, at least not enough to keep them from approving an FDLE-sanctioned "needs assessment" of the college to see if, in fact, the academy meets the requirements for training incoming cadets.

If it does not, the Sheriff's Office is expected to move toward establishing an academy run by the Pasco School District. Ray Gadd, Pasco assistant superintendent, said he expects the assessment will happen in May.

This week, the college distributed the audit, noting in a press release that "FDLE evaluated academy expenditures, recordkeeping, and facilities as well as administrative operations, instruction and curriculum." Nancy Bunch, PHSC's director of public service programs, received an award for the spotless audit from Criminal Justice Standards and Training Commission, the release announced.

The academy — namely its instructors, facilities and hiring procedures — has come under fire in the past year by Pasco Sheriff Chris Nocco.

Lindsey Moore, the sheriff's legal counsel, addressed the commission last month, pointing as far back as 2009 to an incident in which the college fired three academy officials after video surfaced of an instructor engaged in a sex act with a cadet, as well as other incidents with instructors.

As recently as last year, Moore noted, two people were fired and Bunch was put on probation after a sexual harassment complaint.

Bunch was set to retire at the end of January but agreed to stay in her position while the college continues to interview for her replacement. The college isn't looking at internal candidates or any from the Sheriff's Office, said spokeswoman Lucy Miller. All of the candidates are from Florida.

The results of the audit didn't sway Nocco from wanting to break away from the college.

"The scope of the audit was very narrow and did not include classroom observation, nor report the faulty range equipment we unfortunately had to train on," he told the Times. "Overall our concern was that the academy did not want to partner with us, fortunately we found a partnership with the Pasco public schools."

The Hernando Sheriff's Office is backing out of the college, too, and returning to Criminal Justice Training Region 6 where it will work with Withlacoochee Technical Institute.

"They're excited about us coming up there and bringing the training dollars that we bring," said Hernando Sheriff Al Nienhuis. "That, combined with all the unrest in Pasco, is why I felt the need … to make the move."

Contact Alex Orlando at or (727) 869-6247.

Despite PHSC police academy's perfect audit, Pasco and Hernando sheriffs still plan to leave 02/14/14 [Last modified: Friday, February 14, 2014 7:23pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Interview: Felicia Day talks internet geekdom, her path to 'Mystery Science Theater 3000' before Megacon Orlando


    Felicia Day said her entire career path was influenced by the pre-internet role-playing game series Ultima.

    Felicia Day as Kinga Forrester in the new Mystery Science Theater 3000 on Netflix.
  2. Brian Ballard's lobbying shop in Washington get a big contract


    Ballard Partners, the Florida lobbying firm led by Brian Ballard, is quickly ramping up in Washington and just landed a high-profile contract: the government of Turkey.

  3. Tampa teenager gets rescued by Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson in 'Baywatch'


    For child actor L.J. Ruth, meeting his idol was easy as falling off a pier.

    L.J. Ruth, 13, was born and raised in Tampa. He is a child actor/model/voice artist and is currently in the movie Baywatch alongside Dwayne Johnson. Photo via Instagram.
  4. Report: CEOs got biggest raise since 2013 with Charter Communications CEO on top


    NEW YORK — The typical CEO at the biggest U.S. companies got an 8.5 percent raise last year, raking in $11.5 million in salary, stock and other compensation last year, according to a study by executive data firm Equilar for The Associated Press. That's the biggest raise in three years.

    Charter Communications CEO Thomas Rutledge -- whose company took over Bright House Networks last year  was the highest paid CEO in 2016, according to a study carried out by executive compensation data firm Equilar and The Associated Press. 
[Associated Press file photo]
  5. World reacts to horror, disbelief to deadly Manchester arena bombing

    Public Safety

    The world is reacting in horror and disbelief after an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, England, ended in bloodshed and chaos Monday night.

    Crowds of people wait outside after police avacuated the Arndale Centre on May 23, 2017 in Manchester, England.  An explosion occurred at Manchester Arena as concert goers were leaving the venue after Ariana Grande had performed. [Christopher Furlong | Getty Images]