Tuesday, November 21, 2017
Public safety

Pasco sheriff wants more space, staff at Land O'Lakes jail

RECOMMENDED READING


If you get arrested in Pasco County, you'll be sleeping on the floor.

Detention deputies say there's no more room in the bunks. Kitchen, laundry and medical services at the Land O'Lakes jail are at capacity. The detention staff is vastly outnumbered. If the jail population keeps rising and available space stays the same, deputies say, the jail could be facing human rights violations.

The Sheriff's Office presented its wish list Friday afternoon to the county's Public Safety Council.

In the past month and a half, Pasco Sheriff Chris Nocco has sent two letters to the County Commission outlining conditions at the jail:

• Average daily population: 1,451

• Number of permanent beds at the jail: 1,432

• Number of inmates living in temporary housing: 415

• Predicted jail population in 2015: about 1,700

Capt. Ray Revell, administration support division commander at the Sheriff's Office, said kitchen and laundry services at the jail have already reached capacity. The inmates who are left to sleep in cots on the floor — 279 on Thursday night, when the population spiked higher than average — pose civil rights concerns for the jail, he said.

Florida Model Jail Standards mandate that "single cells shall contain a minimum of 63 square feet of floor space." Floor cots take up that floor space, Revell says, and more inmates means more cots.

Overcrowding also creates safety concerns. Revell said American Correctional Association standards suggest a ratio of one deputy to 64 inmates per holding block. The ratio at the jail now, Revell said, is nearly double: one deputy to 112 inmates.

Nocco has proposed a two-step solution. For the budget year starting Oct. 1, he will request funding to staff the now-vacant third floor of the Land O'Lakes jail. The third floor was part of the jail expansion built in 2009, but the county has saved money by not using it.

Of the 415 inmates living in some form of temporary housing, 256 would be given permanent bed space if the third floor is staffed and opened, Nocco said in one of his letters to the commission. Sheriff's spokesman Doug Tobin would not say how many detention officers and other staff would be hired or how much money the Sheriff's Office will request.

In addition, Nocco said, the only way to keep up with the population will be to start construction on a new annex to the jail. He did not specify the cost or the size of that addition. He said in the meeting Friday that it should "absolutely" be a higher budget priority than a new central Pasco courthouse, a $28 million project for which the county is soliciting bids.

Nocco said the jail annex probably will go into his budget request for 2014-15.

"We're going to have to build," Maj. Ed Beckman said after Friday's meeting. "It's inevitable."

Contact Alex Orlando at [email protected] or (727) 869-6247.

Comments
NTSB report details steep turns and dives preceding Roy Halladay’s fatal crash

NTSB report details steep turns and dives preceding Roy Halladay’s fatal crash

Before he crashed, Roy Halladay flew within 75 feet of houses and skimmed the surface of the Gulf of Mexico, according to a report published Monday by the National Transportation Safety Board.The report, which did not address the cause of the crash, ...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Blasts at plant kill 1, injure dozens

Blasts at plant kill 1, injure dozens

NEW WINDSOR, N.Y. — Authorities recovered the body of a male worker reported missing after two explosions and a fire at a New York cosmetics factory left 30 to 35 people injured, including seven firefighters caught in the second blast, officials said...
Updated: 6 hours ago
In wake of killings, Seminole Heights hosts supper to thank first responders

In wake of killings, Seminole Heights hosts supper to thank first responders

TAMPAKenny Hoffa surprised everyone when he made the seven-hour drive from Charleston, S.C., to Tampa’s Seminole Heights to attend a dinner set up to thank police for working hard to solve a string of recent killings.For Hoffa, it was an easy decisio...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Tampa Electric, contractor fined $43,000 in gas leak

Tampa Electric, contractor fined $43,000 in gas leak

APOLLO BEACH — The federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration fined Tampa Electric $18,108 and gave the company two "serious" citations for its response to a gas leak at the Big Bend Power Station in May, the agency announced late Friday.T...
Updated: 10 hours ago
David Straz adds $10,000 to reward for arrest in Seminole Heights killings

David Straz adds $10,000 to reward for arrest in Seminole Heights killings

TAMPA — The David A. Straz Foundation is contributing $10,000 to the reward for information leading to an arrest in the Seminole Heights killings.The contribution brings the total to $110,000.Straz is a philanthropist and retired banker who is explor...
Published: 11/20/17
Park, Walk and Talk is St. Petersburg police chief’s signature program. Is it working?

Park, Walk and Talk is St. Petersburg police chief’s signature program. Is it working?

ST. PETERSBURG — Police Chief Tony Holloway has made getting officers out of their cars, walking streets and talking to residents a key plank in his effort to improve relations between his department and the community.But three years into his adminis...
Published: 11/20/17

FHP: St. Petersburg man, 24, died while trying to cross state road in St. Cloud

ST. CLOUD — A St. Petersburg man died Sunday night after he was struck by a vehicle while attempting to cross a highway, authorities said. Matthew Mitchell, 24, walked into the path of a 2008 Ford sport utility vehicle as he was trying to cross U.S. ...
Published: 11/20/17
Largo police active shooter training ‘a sign of the times’ for participants

Largo police active shooter training ‘a sign of the times’ for participants

LARGO — The classroom was full, but the chatter was quiet as the students picked at doughnuts and sipped coffee from paper cups.Many were strangers to each other, but the reason they showed up at the Largo Police Department on a sunny Saturday mornin...
Published: 11/20/17

Deputies: Port Richey woman arrested for hitting boy, 4, with hanger

PORT RICHEY — A Port Richey woman was arrested on a charge of felony child abuse after a 4-year-old boy in her care told deputies she hit him with a clothes hanger, leaving bruises, the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office said.Teresa White-Fry, 38, was arr...
Published: 11/20/17

St. Petersburg pedestrian fatally struck in Osceola County

A pedestrian from St. Petersburg was killed Sunday night when he was struck by an SUV in Osceola County.According to the Florida Highway Patrol, 24-year-old Matthew Mitchell was struck along on U.S. 192 at Pine Grove Road in St. Cloud around 7 p.m.Tr...
Published: 11/20/17