NEW PORT RICHEY — Deputy John Perez flies. It's his passion. He joined the Pasco County Sheriff's Office right out of high school and spent time as a detective in vice narcotics, but he loved flying and when he heard there might be an opening in the aviation unit, he went for it.
That was 12 years ago. On Wednesday, Perez found out he won't be a pilot anymore. The Sheriff's Office is disbanding its aviation unit to save money. It takes more than a half million dollars a year to run the unit — from salaries and benefits down to rehabbing old surplus parts to keep the aircraft operational.