Sheriff’s Office Increases Number Of Deputies In North Escambia
March 18, 2010
New deputies are now on the streets of North Escambia thanks to a federal economic stimulus program grant.
The five new patrol officers were added with the assistance of a $3.3 million, three-year grant that will fund 20 new Community Oriented Policing (COPS) positions in the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office.
“As promised to the citizens, the first officers under this program were sent to the north end,” Sheriff David Morgan said Wednesday.
The COPS grant federal funding ends in three years, but the Escambia County Commission committed last year to fund the positions for a fourth year at a cost to the county of $1.1 million.
“Out intention is to have the officers up there permanently,” Morgan said. “Sometimes based upon crime stats we will temporarily reassign officers to other areas, but our intent is always to send them back.”
In addition to regular patrols, officers in the new grant-funded positions will engage in community oriented policing activities. The officers will participate in problem oriented policing in conjunction with the Community Oriented Policing Unit, and investigating underlying issues in the community that could lead to criminal activity.
“One of the best law enforcement activities is having your officers integrated in the community,” Morgan said.
Deputies Jon Moore, Melissa Sterling, Mike Dekort, Mike Coburn and David Bashore will be the five new COPS officers in North Escambia. Morgan said area residents will recognize some of the officer names because they have worked in the area for some period of time, but they have been reassigned to the COPS positions. The patrol positions that they vacated have or will be filled to bring the Cantonment/Molino and Century precincts up to their full staffing level.
The overall law enforcement in presence in the Cantonment/Molino precinct will increase to a total of 20 deputies, and the total in the Century/Walnut Hill precinct will increase to 19.
The U.S. Department of Justice announced $1 billion in funding across the nation including $3,344,620 for the ECSO for 20 deputies in late July. The program includes $1 billion in grants to create or maintain 4,699 sworn officers nationwide under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
Only four agencies in Florida — the Miami PD, Jacksonville PD, Polk County SO and Pasco County SO — received funding for more officers than Escambia County.
But the other area agencies that applied — the Flomaton Police Department, Escambia County (Ala.) Sheriff’s Department, Poarch Creek Tribal Police Department and the Santa Rosa County Sheriff’s Department – received nothing. The Atmore Police Department did not apply for funds under the program.
Pictured: Deputy David Bashore makes an arrest in this file photo. Bashore is one of five COPS grant officers announced for North Escambia. NorthEscambia.com photo, click to enlarge.