Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Legislature issues ultimatum on Pasco sheriff, PHSC police academy

House Speaker Will Weatherford urges an academy resolution.

House Speaker Will Weatherford urges an academy resolution.

NEW PORT RICHEY — The Florida Legislature, at the behest of House Speaker Will Weatherford, is putting an end to the ongoing saga between the Pasco Sheriff's Office and Pasco-Hernando State College on how to run a joint police academy.

Language included in the state budget, passed Friday, states that if the entities can't reach an agreement by Oct. 1, the academy will lose its accreditation. The language is tied to education funding, making it difficult for Gov. Rick Scott to veto.

In a statement to the Tampa Bay Times, Weatherford blasted both the Sheriff's Office and the college for their stubbornness.

"The inability of both sides to find a compromise has been disappointing," he wrote. "Despite much discussion, neither side has been able to overcome differences."

Pasco Sheriff Chris Nocco and PHSC president Katherine Johnson have been in a stalemate since last summer.

Nocco has accused the college of not meeting ethical standards, using favoritism in hiring and employing disgruntled former Sheriff's Office employees who pass on bad morale to prospective recruits. The sheriff's attorney also said the academy's equipment is sparse and training facilities are dilapidated. In January, Nocco proposed opening a new academy with the school district at Marchman Technical Education Center in New Port Richey and in March he issued a memo barring his employees from teaching at PHSC. The school district has yet to apply to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to run an academy.

The Sheriff's Office and college later in March began negotiations on jointly running a law enforcement academy after some prodding from Weatherford, schools superintendent Kurt Browning and others. However, the dialogue quickly distilled to one sticking point neither seems willing to concede: Who will appoint and oversee the academy's director?

"I do not take this action lightly," Weatherford wrote. "For the past eight years, I have fought vigorously to improve the quality and fiscal health of our Sherriff's Office and our state college."

In a news release Friday, Nocco thanked Weatherford for working for legislation "that will allow us to create a partnership to develop a world class academy and training center for all of Pasco."

Nocco said "as a show of good faith," he will allow his staff to again teach at the college's law enforcement academy.

The college did not return a request for comment Monday.

Legislature issues ultimatum on Pasco sheriff, PHSC police academy 05/05/14 [Last modified: Monday, May 5, 2014 9:14pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Wrestling to return to old Tampa armory — but just for one night

    Human Interest

    TAMPA — For the first time in decades, wrestling will return to the old Ft. Homer W. Hesterly Armory with a reunion show scheduled for late September.

    For the first time in decades, wrestling will return to the old Ft. Homer W. Hesterly Armory with a reunion show scheduled for late September.
Now named the Bryan Glazer Family JCC, the armory regularly featured stars such as Dusty Rhodes and Jack Brisco. On September 26, it will host a one-time only reunion night. [JAMES BORCHUCK | Times file photo (2016)]
  2. Wanted: New businesses on Safety Harbor's Main Street

    Local Government

    SAFETY HARBOR — A green grocery store, a hardware store, restaurants, boutiques and multi-use buildings are all wanted downtown, according to discussion at a community redevelopment workshop held last week. And to bring them to the Main Street district, city commissioners, led by Mayor Joe Ayoub, gave City Manager …

    Whistle Stop Bar & Grill is one of the main stops on Main Street in Safety Harbor. [LUIS SANTANA | Times]
  3. John Morgan intends to pressure every Florida politician to fund wage initiative


    John Morgan, the publicity-loving personal injury lawyer/entrepreneur who spearheaded the successful medical marijuana initiative, soon plans to start collecting signatures for a 2020 ballot initiative raising Florida minimum wage. He plans to "spend millions of my own money" on the effort, but he also intends to …

  4. Westbound traffic on Courtney Campbell blocked after crash


    Westbound traffic on the Courtney Campbell Causeway is being diverted following a crash early Thursday morning.

  5. Q&A: A business leader and historian jointly delve into Tampa's waterfront


    TAMPA — As a native of Tampa, Arthur Savage has always had a passion for his hometown's history. And as a third-generation owner and operator of A.R. Savage & Son, a Tampa-based shipping agency, his affinity for his hometown also extends to its local waterways.

    Arthur Savage (left) and Rodney Kite-Powell, co-authors of "Tampa Bay's Waterfront: Its History and Development," stand for a portrait with the bust of James McKay Sr. in downtown Tampa on Wednesday, Aug. 16, 2017. McKay, who passed away in 1876, was a prominent businessman, among other things, in the Tampa area. He was Arthur Savage's great great grandfather. [LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times]