Inside the Pasco County Sheriff's Department: A Special Report - St. Petersburg Times

A new sheriff takes the place of John M. Short, who is suspended due to fraud.

Media History

The reporting was intended for these media types: Newspaper

"Undercover Detective at Heart of 'Operation CUP' Investigation" - Lucy Morgan - St. Petersburg Times


". . .Ronald Bayless, a former Pinellas County sergeant, and Ronald Mock, a former Tampa narcotics detective, were veteran law enforcement officers in their mid 30s when they accepted Paso County Sheriff John M. Short's offer to help clean up a serious drug smuggling problem in East Pasco County. . ."

"Official Recommended Job Applicants Who Lied" - Lucy Morgan and Jack Reed - St. Petersburg Times


". . .In several instances, Michels recommended the employment of men who did not tell the truth about their backgrounds when they filled out applications at the department. Michels, 48, is a long time friend of Sheriff John M. Short and helped run both of the sheriff's election campaigns. . ."

"State Subpoenas Financial Documents" - St. Petersburg Times Staff Writers - St. Petersburg Times


". . .Russell's investigators are apparently interested in Short's dealings with John T. Moorman, a wealthy part time deputy who helped Short make thousands of dollars in a series of personal transactions in 1981 and 1982. . ."

"Indictment Sparks Anger—and Jubilation" - Jan Glidewell, Jeff Testerman and Dan LeDuc - St. Petersburg Times


". . .At the other end of the spectrum was Dade City lawyer Charles Waller. Waller, a target of a questionable drug investigation code-named 'Clean Up Pasco,' or CUP, watched on television as WTVT-Channel 13 broke into a soap opera to announce the indictment. . ."

"Expert: Pasco Sheriff Mishandled Death Cases" - Lucy Morgan - St. Petersburg Times


"Critical evidence in the violent deaths of two well-known men was destroyed during crime-scene investigations conducted by the Pasco County Sheriff's Department, according to an expert hired to review the two cases. Because the investigation were substantially flawed, the expert says, serious questions remain about the deaths of former Pasco Sheriff's captain Joseph H. Donahue and Tampa car dealer Ernie Haire. . ."

"Short, Six Others Indicted In Pasco County" - Lucy Morgan and David K. Rogers - St. Petersburg Times


"Suspended Pasco County Sheriff John M. Short and four deputies were among seven persons indicted Wednesday by a Pasco County grand jury investigating the sheriff's department. Short was charged with two felony counts of official misconduct under a Florida law that prohibits public officials from corruptly falsifying an official record. . ."

"Study Critical of Sheriff's Department" - Lucy Morgan - St. Petersburg Times


"The National Sheriff's Association has criticized the way Pasco County Sheriff John M. Short runs his department in a 60-page report that recommends a host of changes. Short requested the management study earlier this year in response to a series of St. Petersburg Times stories critical of the way he runs his department. . ."

"Deputies With Special Ties to Short Get Special Treatment" - Lucy Morgan - St. Petersburg Times


". . .Pasco County Deputies Al Denning and Victor Morris were fired for taking an unauthorized coffee break - in a department where other deputies survived despite the fact that they filed false police reports, flunked polygraph tests and associated with organized crime figures. Deputies with special ties to Sheriff John M. Short frequently escape serious punishment while others are fired over minor infractions, according to files reviewed by the Times over the past seven months. . ."

"Pasco Sheriff Reveals 53 Hirees Had Records" - Lucy Morgan - St. Petersburg Times


"An internal investigation at the Pasco County Sheriff's Department has discovered that 53 of the 360 employees on the sheriff's payroll in February had arrest records. The internal investigation was sparked by a St. Petersburg Times report that at least 25 of the 195 sworn deputies and corrections officers had criminal arrest records. . ."

"Pasco Sheriff Spurs Challenge on Radio Show" - Lucy Morgan and Jack Reed - St. Petersburg Times


". . .In an emotional phone call broadcast Friday morning by WDCF in Dade City, realtor Lewis Abraham asked Short either to deny that the sheriff's office ever investigated him or to submit himself to an examination that would determine if Short was lying. . ."

"Pasco Department Hired Girls, 17 and 18, as Drug Informants" - Lucy Morgan - St. Petersburg Times


"As part of a drug investigation, the Pasco County sheriff's Department once installed a 17-year-old runaway and her 18-year-old friend in a mobile home, where the young women sometimes traded sex for drugs. The mother of the 17-year-old girl had already reported her daughter as a runaway and had asked the Sheriff's Department for help in finding the girl, a juvenile. Meanwhile she was being used in the investigation without her parents' knowledge. . ."

"Some Deputies Had Records Before Being Hired" - Lucy Morgan - St. Petersburg Times

Pasco deputy did not reveal arrest record


". . .Before hiring anyone to be a law enforcement officer, the state demands that a police or sheriff's department certify that the applicant has been subject to a 'thorough background investigation' and is 'satisfied' that the person is of 'good moral character' . . ."

"Shooting Was Ruled Suicide, But Was It?" - Lucy Morgan - St. Petersburg Times


"Joseph H. Donahue was dead on his bathroom floor, his legs neatly crossed and his hands poised on his chest. Beside the body was a Smith & Wesson service revolver engraved with the date he left the Port Richey police department to become a top-ranking officer for Pasco County Sheriff John M. Short. The chamber of the gun was open and four live rounds of ammunition were scattered in a pool of Donahue's blood. . ."

"Public Duties, Private Business Overlap in Pasco" - Jack Reed and Lucy Morgan - St. Petersburg Times


"On the afternoon of November 9, people passing the Pasco County Sheriff's office in New Port Richey saw a hearse parked out front. It remained there for about three hours. Inside, no one was dead. A spokesman for Crain S&S Sales a funeral home supply company, says a company salesman was merely showing his wares to Sheriff John M. Short and Roger Michels, the sheriff's assistant director of administration. . ."

"Doing Business with the Boss in Pasco" - Jack Reed and Lucy Morgan - St. Petersburg Times


"When Pasco County Sheriff John M. Short wants to buy or sell a piece of property or find a business partner, he often turns to his employees. While building his personal wealth, the sheriff has done business with at least eight subordinates and surrounded himself with fellow entrepreneurs. . ."

"Pasco County Sheriff Had Secret Target List" - Lucy Morgan - St. Petersburg Times


"Pasco County Sheriff, John M. Short investigated a number of prominent East Pasco residents as suspected drug smugglers in a secret, privately financed undercover operation in 1961-62. The investigation, which produced no arrests, apparently focused on men who had earned the enmity of Short or John T. Moorman, a wealthy part-time deputy and Short associate who helped finance the operation. . ."

"Pasco Sheriff Short Indicted" - Lucy Morgan - St. Petersburg Times

New sheriff is old hand at filling in


". . .Governor Bob Graham appointed Phillips as interim sheriff today. He'll take over at noon today when the suspension of Sheriff John M. Short is effective. . ."