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Sheriff's inquiry focuses on 7 deputies

On Dec. 11 at Pasco-Hernando Community College's law enforcement training class, 17 people's signatures were listed on the attendance sheet.

But class coordinator Tim Tate had been tipped that students were doctoring attendance records. He made a point of visiting the class that day.

He counted only 12 people in the classroom to go with the 17 names.

The next day PHCC launched an investigation into attendance record falsification at the class, which was filled almost entirely with Pasco County sheriff's corrections deputies. The school turned the probe over to the Sheriff's Office.

More than three months later, sheriff's officials have nearly completed their investigation, sheriff's spokesman Kevin Doll said Wednesday. According to documents released Wednesday by the Sheriff's Office, the investigation has centered around seven deputies who failed the class for unexcused absences.

Three deputies have confirmed to the Times that they were fired. A fourth said he resigned during the investigation.

The fates of the remaining deputies questioned by investigators will be made public after the deputies sign off on the findings of the Internal Affairs inquiry, Doll said.

The class, "Cross-Over to Law Enforcement," trained corrections deputies to become patrol deputies. Ex-Deputy Jason Tinnel, who resigned from the Sheriff's Office two weeks ago, said deputies were stretched thin by working full time and attending 20 hours of class each week. So some of them signed each other in, he said.

Sheriff's officials took handwriting samples, examined work and class attendance records and questioned the deputies under investigation.

According to the documents released Wednesday:

Deputy Eugene Adamski Jr., who was fired, told investigators that he signed for another deputy one time and that deputy signed for him one time. At least once, Adamski's name was spelled wrong on the attendance sheet.

Deputy William Rogers, whose fate has not been announced, said he never signed for other deputies. He said he did not know that someone had signed in for him.

Deputy Neal McMinn, whose fate has not been announced, said he never signed for anyone and never asked anyone to sign for him. He said three times he was in class but the signatures on the attendance sheet do not look like his writing.

Deputy James Rollston, who was fired, said he signed for another deputy three or four times and she signed in for him three or four times.

Deputy Kimberly Becker, who was fired, said she signed for another deputy and that deputy signed for her seven or eight times.

Tinnel, who resigned, said he signed for a deputy one time and that deputy signed for him one time.

Deputy Jonathon McGuffin, whose fate has not been announced, said he signed for two other deputies because they were in class but had forgotten to sign in.

At least one of the fired deputies _ Adamski _ wrote in the documents released Wednesday that the nearly complete investigation hasn't spread far enough.

"I firmly believe that the only deputies that were totally honest in this investigation process are the ones being punished, while the others with "selective' memory are walking away untouched," Adamski wrote in a March 11 letter to the major in charge of the sheriff's corrections unit. "I believe it is painfully obvious that the truth will not rise to the top."

Adamski continued: "I hope the unpunished participants are not being pardoned due to current rank in the Sheriff's Office."

The class included agency officials as high ranking as Capt. Brian Head. Through Doll, Head declined to comment Wednesday.

Doll said the Sheriff's Office investigated all of the deputies against whom PHCC had evidence. He said there is no evidence against Head or any of the higher-ups in the class.

"If anybody else has any other evidence, please bring it forward," he said.

Adamski wrote in his letter and Tinnel previously told the Times that the false signin practice was widespread. Adamski wrote that he pointed out several handwriting discrepancies to investigating Detective Christine Armstrong.

Through Doll, Armstrong denied that Adamski named anybody else.

"It's easy after you've been implicated to start pointing the finger at anyone else," Doll said.

_ Ryan Davis is the police reporter in Pasco County. He can be reached in west Pasco at 869-6245 or toll-free at 1-800-333-7505, ext. 6245. His e-mail address is rdavissptimes.com.

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