Brooksville, Florida - Hernando County Sheriff Al Neinhaus says he's heartbroken - pure and simple.
The Sheriff is now going on record and talking about a painful topic that is making headlines.
"It not only breaks my heart, I can't even express how much it breaks my heart," said the Sheriff.
Sheriff Al Neinhaus says he can't believe it has come to this, a slain deputy's wife accusing him of trying to somehow benefit politically from a new bill signed by the Governor.
The bill is named after Hernando deputy, John Mecklenburg, killed in the line of duty July 3, 2011 while pursuing a suspect during a chase.
Deputy Mecklenburg died after his car crashed into a tree.
On Friday afternoon, Governor Rick Scott was at the Hernando Sheriff's Office to sign the bill and speak with Mecklenburg's fellow deputies.
One person who wasn't there in Brooksville on Friday was Penny Mecklenburg, the deputy's wife.
The sheriff weighed in on the situation, "It would be ridiculous to think that I want bad blood between me and Penny. I feel responsible for her and children as Sheriff. The last thing I'd want to do is exclude her from this. That would have been ludicrous."
The Mecklenburg Act will officially go into law on October 1st, which would place tougher penalties on suspects who cause the death of a law enforcement officer during a chase.
Penny was noticeably absent Friday afternoon at the Hernando Sheriff's Office.
Governor Rick Scott said, "I invited her."
The Governor and the Sheriff both confirm that they asked the deputy's wife to attend, but she did not show.
The Sheriff said, "She was invited, she absolutely knows she was welcome. Absolutely."
Penny Mecklenburg has a different story.
She has reportedly told people in the community that she was not invited and that she's disappointed that the Sheriff did not have this ceremony on a more private level.
The Governor commented that he and Penny spoke about having a private bill-signing ceremony in Tallahasee in the future.
Sheriff Neinhaus says he had a responsibility to honor Deputy Mecklenburg at the workplace he called home.
"I did not pick the timing of this," he said. "I did not pick the timing of John's death or the timing of the bill. For me to not do it here, I'd be criticized just as much."
10 News asked Penny Mecklenburg if she wanted to do an interview and talk about the situation. She declined the interview, saying that she did not feel well.
She did tell the Tampa Bay Times, "[The Sheriff's] purpose is to ride John's name to the polls. This is a politically driven move on his part. I won't be a part of it."