Thursday, April 26, 2018
Public safety

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

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 [email protected] or (727) 869-6247.

Comments
Long wait at Wingstop ends in brawl, hot oil and 2nd degree burns

Long wait at Wingstop ends in brawl, hot oil and 2nd degree burns

TAMPA — A customer visited Wingstop on Sunday night to pick-up his order. What happened next was off-menu:Robert Williams said he suffered second-degree burns on his back and legs after a Wingstop employee threw hot oil on him during a scuffle.Willia...
Updated: 8 hours ago
FHP identifies driver in crash that killed

FHP identifies driver in crash that killed "smiling" teen

TRINITY — Friends said what they’ll remember the most about Lillia Morris is that she was always smiling.The 17-year-old Mitchell High School junior was killed Tuesday when a sport-utility vehicle ran a red light on State Road 54 and slammed into the...
Updated: 9 hours ago
For senior week, Lakewood High School must mourn a senior

For senior week, Lakewood High School must mourn a senior

ST. PETERSBURG — Lakewood High School principal Erin Savage has never planned a candlelight vigil. But this week, Savage must learn how to do so as her school mourns the tragic death of one of its graduating seniors.Bryson Welton-Williams, 18, died T...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Pasco corporal who took down student on video now cleared (w/video)

Pasco corporal who took down student on video now cleared (w/video)

LAND O’LAKES — Kayla Peña filled up her water bottle then returned to her lunch table at Sunlake High School when she heard a commotion in the cafeteria on Tuesday afternoon.A female student was riled up, walking back and forth, Peña said, screaming ...
Updated: 10 hours ago

Man on Clearwater Beach pulled from water, hospitalized

CLEARWATER — A 33-year-old man pulled from the water north of Pier 60 was hospitalized Wednesday afternoon.Clearwater Fire & Rescue spokesman Rob Shaw said a bystander noticed the Dunedin man, who has not been identified, was in trouble and brought h...
Published: 04/25/18
State Road 54 closed after state trooper injured in crash

State Road 54 closed after state trooper injured in crash

WESLEY CHAPEL — A motorist suffered a medical emergency and crashed into six cars at a Wesley Chapel traffic light Wednesday, injuring a trooper, the Florida Highway Patrol said.The trooper, whose injuries were not life threatening, was airlifted to ...
Published: 04/25/18
Orlando armed carjacking suspect on the run in Hillsborough, authorities say

Orlando armed carjacking suspect on the run in Hillsborough, authorities say

PLANT CITY — Multiple law enforcement agencies are searching for an armed man responsible for a string of Wednesday morning carjackings, including one that involved gunfire, according to the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office.Authorities described ...
Published: 04/25/18
Trinity teen killed in crash remembered as ‘positive’ and ‘smiling’

Trinity teen killed in crash remembered as ‘positive’ and ‘smiling’

TRINITY — Friends said they will remember Lillia Morris, who was killed Tuesday in a car crash, as always smiling.Morris, 17, was killed after a 2008 Chevrolet SUV ran a red light and slammed into her car at State Road 54 and Duck Slough Boulevard.Ka...
Published: 04/25/18
Man, teen face murder charges in Clearwater shooting

Man, teen face murder charges in Clearwater shooting

CLEARWATER — A man and teen face first-degree murder charges in connection with an apparent drug-related fatal shooting last week.Police say Daniel Curtis Battle, 28, and Malique Devon Gary, 17, shot Ricardo Guzman four times on Friday at Melrose on ...
Published: 04/25/18
UCF student from Hillsborough, one other accused of rape; fraternity suspended

UCF student from Hillsborough, one other accused of rape; fraternity suspended

ORLANDO — A University of Central Florida student from Hillsborough County and a fellow fraternity member face charges after they were accused of raping a woman at a party.That fraternity has since been placed on interim suspension.Orange County Sher...
Published: 04/25/18