NEW PORT RICHEY — The Florida Department of Law Enforcement responded Friday to Pasco-Hernando State College's investigation of problems at its law enforcement academy, saying "there appear to be no sustained instructor violations that would require further action."
Last month, academy instructor Patricia Maxwell raised concerns, complaining that instructors were "routinely" absent from classes. She also said the student guide for the academy was being used without approval by the college, questions were removed from tests to pass students who otherwise would have failed and shotgun firearms qualifications were being incorrectly scored.
On that last point, FDLE bureau chief Glen Hopkins urged that the affected cadets be requalified "using appropriate scoring protocols."
In the college's response detailing its own investigation into the complaints, PHSC president Katherine Johnson said the other concerns were either unfounded — such as the one about the student guide — or had already been resolved. Johnson noted that the shotgun qualification problem was corrected in April.
In Hopkins' response, he said his staff will follow up to make sure needed changes have been made.
The investigation comes months before an October deadline imposed by state House Speaker Will Weatherford on the college and the Pasco County Sheriff's Office to reach an agreement on running a joint law enforcement academy. The two sides have been at odds for more than a year, with Pasco Sheriff Chris Nocco at one point threatening to break away and start a separate academy.
The college sent its latest proposal for an agreement on Wednesday. However, Nocco said it is the same contract verbatim that the college sent on June 3.
"I think it was disappointing that they sent the same exact proposal that we knew we had concerns with," Nocco said. "Its almost as if they were expecting the same results from us."