Nassau County, FL - Just a few weeks after Florida Governor Rick Scott vetoes funding for the Nassau County Sheriff’s Office build-out, we’re hearing from the Sheriff himself that the fight for a new building is far from over.
“That’s not a deal breaker. We’re working with the County Commission to get things done,” says Nassau County Sheriff Bill Leeper.
Leeper tells WOKV the layout of the Sheriff’s Office and “horrendous” conditions of the facilities are some of the biggest obstacles they face.
“I’ve called it a trailer park- nine portable buildings surrounding the old jail is basically what it is,” he says.
Up to this point, the Sheriff’s Office has had little infrastructure, some of that because of the layout. Leeper says only now are they installing internet everywhere and developing an email exchange. The lack of a central meeting place means the area is a logistical challenge, but he says it’s also a danger.
“Should a storm come through, those trailers are going to get wiped out and employees may get hurt if they’re working, or certainly have to find another place to work, Leeper says.
So he’s now working with County Commissioners in an effort to get an additional $1.5 million in the upcoming budget in order to get the ball rolling on some of these updates. The Governor vetoed $500,000 that had been put in the state budget, but Leeper says that would have only been a start so while it was disappointing to see the cut, he’s confident the county will step up.
They are already using some other resources to perform other needed updates. For example, Leeper says they have used “drug money” to update laptops used by patrols and upgrade the tasers used by deputies as well. He says deputies were still using first generation tasers which were larger and not as up to date as the recent models.
WOKV wants to know what you think. Would you be willing to see some of your tax dollars go to a new facility? Join the conversation going on our Facebook.