Pasco County Sheriff Chris Nocco is criticizing Sen. Jack Latvala for standing in the way of what he calls a big win for Pasco County.
“I am very disappointed that Senator Latvala is putting his political ambitions ahead of the needs of the state,” he said.
As the battle over the 2017-18 budget continues to wear on, several hometown projects could be on the chopping block, including $4.3 million for the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office.
The money, according to the Times/Herald, will be used to create the Florida Forensic Institute for Research, Security and Tactical Training. The forensic laboratory, located in Land O’Lakes near the Pasco County jail, would teach law enforcement officers and students, all the while focusing on an estimated 16,000 unsolved murders and missing person cases in Florida.
The Miami Herald reported Tuesday that Latvala said it was ironic that the “single largest project in the budget is for” House Speaker Richard Corcoran.
“I haven’t criticized the project,” said Latvala, according to the report. “”I’m just saying that it’s ironic: He’s against projects, but the largest single project in the budget is for him … It’s do as I say, not as I do.”
Corcoran said the project is for the “entire state.”
The project’s leaders include Nocco and forensic anthropologist Erin Kimmerle, who led the research that unearthed the remains of young boys buried in unmarked graves at the Dozier School for Boys.
Nocco said he’s surprised Latvala’s Tallahassee politics could be blocking a win for Pasco and the state.
“He said he would not be our biggest cheerleader, but he also said he would not stand in our way,” said Nocco.
Nocco also doesn’t understand why Latvala won’t support a project that will be based in Pasco.
“He does remember that part of his district is in Pasco County,” he said.