16 Arrested As Escambia Panhandling Ordinance Enforcement Begins

November 30, 2011

The Escambia County Sheriff’s Office began enforcing the county’s new panhandling ordinance Tuesday afternoon, arresting about 15 people at intersections throughout the county.

The new ordinance prohibits anyone from standing in the median of roadways in the county, unless they are legally crossing the road. The ordinance does not prohibit anyone from standing on the sides of the road, as long as they do not enter the roadway except to legally cross.

“In one incident, a man and his wife were arrested after driving from their home in Gulf Breeze to the intersection of Olive Road and Davis Highway and entering the median and holding signs asking for money,” according to Sgt. Mike Ward, spokesperson for the sheriff’s office.

The ordinance was passed November 17 by the Escambia County Commission on a 3-2 vote and forwarded to the Florida Secretary of State’s Office for certification. Before enforcement began Tuesday, deputies visited intersections frequently used by panhandlers and informed them that the new ordinance would soon be on the books.

The Escambia County Sheriff’s Office did not release a specific list of those arrested, but according to Escambia County Jail log, the following were charged:

  • John Lyn Brown, 45, homeless.
  • Randy Joseph Caldwell, 50, Murphy Lane.
  • Derek Anthony Cullen, 35, homeless.
  • Sandra Dee Dean, 50, homeless.
  • Randy Steven Edwards, 47, transient.
  • Robert Earl Fowler, 55, homeless.
  • Lawrence Kent Frazier, 46, homeless.
  • Brian Odell Griggs, 41, Gulf Breeze.
  • James Joseph Johnson, 56, Selana Street.
  • Terry Lynn Jones, 51, transient.
  • Tobie Harlice Jones, 65,  Market Street.
  • Paula Eileen Keen, 48, Vance Avenue.
  • Walter Howard Lowrey, 56, transient.
  • Gary Earl Perry, 57, Corry Field Road.
  • Lauren Marie Romaine, 38, West Detroit Boulevard.
  • Richard Carl Struckus, 55, Lime Street

Pictured top: People arrested Tuesday for violating Escambia County new panhandling ordinance.


30 Responses to “16 Arrested As Escambia Panhandling Ordinance Enforcement Begins”

  1. Everett on December 2nd, 2011 11:25 pm

    “The new ordinance prohibits anyone from standing in the median of roadways in the county, unless they are legally crossing the road. The ordinance does not prohibit anyone from standing on the sides of the road, as long as they do not enter the roadway except to legally cross.”

    If you are standing on the side of the road (which is legal) and someones offers money in the inside or turn lane the panhandler has to “step in the road” to get it (which is illegal). Maybe the commisioners next time around will include the side of the road next time.

  2. justmy2cents on December 1st, 2011 9:27 pm

    How many are Vets? Now the homeless will be warm TV and be feed something. The ones with address should be fined big time there is food stamps for them and they know how to get them. STAY WARM VETS!

  3. Heath on December 1st, 2011 8:23 pm

    I am surprised at the comments being made. I have worked with the homeless here in California and we all should be grateful and hope that we never end up in any of these individuals shoes. It is a sad state of affairs that this happens to anyone. Let us remember the Holiday season and not put down our fellow man.

  4. JIM W on December 1st, 2011 6:31 pm

    This could be you standing out there cold, hungry sleeping where ever when ever you can and not knowing where your next meal or bath is coming from. It is easy for us as a society to brush this to the side and or hide it as though it does not happen. But, you better stop and think it thru it could be you just as easy as it is them with the economy the way it is right now. So I am some what going to have to agree with RTS. Read his statement it says a lot.
    I feel for these people some are Mental, some are just homeless and some of course have habits. But how do you sort such a thing out. Do you do that by having a preconceived notion that they are all the same? I think not. It is your right to say no or not give of which by some of your statements you do just that. So, why jump on the band wagon of putting them down?? Once again it could be you. Think before you speak!

  5. Elizabeth35 on December 1st, 2011 12:38 pm

    These people are just like me and you…..they are human, with worth!!!!!! People shouldn’t be so quick to judge, we all might find ourselves homeless one day.

  6. Outraged at the heartlessness on December 1st, 2011 7:55 am

    Ya know, most people do not CHOOSE to be homeless. A large percentage of them have some form of mental illness. Getting help is NOT easy. Yes, there are agencies to help but they can’t help all of these people. I KNOW because I’ve worked with the homeless and I know that there’s not enough help to go around and that these people need our help not our censure.

    There will always be those who are just trying to scam others to get a free buck…..but that’s in EVERYTHING, not just in this group of people.

    Shame on all of you who want to act as if you are so perfect. We all know you’re not and I sincerely hope and pray that someday when you need help, you don’t encounter people who are as cold and unfeeling as you.

  7. Just Saying on December 1st, 2011 7:36 am

    What is wrong with all of you that are saying you’re glad to see them off the streets and tired of seeing those signs? Dummies, did you not actually READ the article? It’s not saying they can’t hold their signs anymore, it just prohibits them from doing so IN THE MEDIAN. They can still do it on the sides of the roads, AND THEY ARE!

  8. rts on December 1st, 2011 5:31 am

    come on folks,if you were in there shoes what would you do? if you dont want to give thats you. people say get a job.whos gonna give them a job with no address or phone.some are really hungry and homeless.i would be ashame for these people thats thinks its funny to be like this.one day you might be on the strreet to.its not funny.county wastes money all the time but cant help the homeless.i guess alot of you dont have a heart.i dont give a rat but if they do buy a beer with the few dollars i give them.atleast i feel good that i helped a people like this.think about it ,you probably throw away a couple of dollars on something you dont need either.they should be looking for people that are making drugs and selling them to our kids,not a poor old homeless person. bust up the meth labs if they want to do something or look into crooked politics.

  9. 24/7 on November 30th, 2011 9:24 pm

    Well on the bright side of things they will recieve shelter, food, and medical at the expense of the tax payers. This law sucks.. What about the vetrans? Just the other day there were vetrans assistant groups taking up money to help the wounded veterans.. What happens to these folks.. Our county ommision really thaught this one out.. We need a change in county government. The pupets need to be removed.. Kevin White supported this law, he is the biggest puppet of all. Wonder how many dollars he contributed to the wounded veterans..

  10. jernirj on November 30th, 2011 8:50 pm

    Looks like Brett Favre on the end of the second row. Times must be tough in Mississippi.

  11. huh on November 30th, 2011 7:24 pm

    I guess in Florida they wont have an unemployment or poor problem, when all poor people are jailed for being poor . Florida will proudly claim how they have no problems

  12. BlueWaterTactical on November 30th, 2011 7:07 pm

    They won’t stay in jail. They will go in front of a judge, receive a fine, and then be released.

    Can’t have them clogging up the system.

    I am really glad the SO is cleaning up these sumbags off the street though. I was awfully tired of seeing these dirtbags walking down the street the next day with their cardboard boxes of empty beer cans

    If we can keep the libtards in their Priuses from giving money it would be nice.

  13. B.Bunny on November 30th, 2011 6:09 pm

    Good! I’m glad that they are finally enforcing this. It’s about time and if justthefacts is correct then out of 24 only 7 were truly indigient and of those who just didn’t list an address with the s/o

  14. Baebae on November 30th, 2011 5:45 pm

    RJay…..come on dude…I am just making an observation…the system reminds me of the way dog catchers work …thats all…Just think about it……..No harm …no foul.

  15. atmore on November 30th, 2011 2:28 pm

    I agree with Paul, how is it really any different, giving if you want to, or HAVING to give no matter what..

  16. RJay on November 30th, 2011 2:09 pm

    Baebae on November 30th, 2011 7:15 am – Kinda reminds me of the dog catcher…ride around and gather all the LOOSE ones up…take them to the pound and wait for someone to BAILTHEM OUT

    SERIOUSLY?!? – Comparing stray dogs to panhandlers? Are you kidding. The stray dogs never had any kind of choice. Some of these panhandlers are not completely innocent concerning their current situations – just very bad at making good decisions.

  17. Pensacola Girl on November 30th, 2011 11:23 am

    I hope the SO gets up to 9 mile road & Old Palafox. Seems like there’s more there than ever. Especially last week.

  18. paul on November 30th, 2011 11:02 am

    It doesn’t bother me seeing panhandlers on the side of the road, I don’t have to give if I don’t want to. What bothers me is being Taxed by politicians who steel my money for stupid reasons like a multi million dollar ballpark for some rich guy from another county..

  19. huh on November 30th, 2011 10:10 am

    From poor to now being fed and living in jail for free

  20. Michelle on November 30th, 2011 9:57 am

    Is this going to cause more people to do it? I’m glad that they are off the roadways. But is it going to encourage others to get arrested so they have a bed, medical help and 3 square meals a day? Winter is coming so we might see more of them.

    Shame on the ones who have homes to go too. Taking advantage of caring people in that manner!!

  21. concerned citizen on November 30th, 2011 8:39 am

    Well it is not hard to pick out the one that lives in gulf breeze. It is sad that these people have no family to help them out. I know some are scammers. There are a few that really have no home no way to work and so on. Glad they are off the streets but now what to do with them? I have loked at these people and prayed that none of my children or family members ever end up like this. Guess now they get to sleep in a warm bed , clean sheets hot food. Sad thing about that is most would rather be back on the streets so they can have their booze , cold bed and cold food . it is a crazy world .

  22. lz on November 30th, 2011 8:07 am

    I have no confidence in our elected officials in Escambia County but enforcement of this law will start to restore some small glimer of a positivie turnaround. And as I have always suspected some of these so called “homeless” are living large right here amoung us. The news outlets need to track these folks down and rat them out good.

  23. DoTellus on November 30th, 2011 7:42 am

    I am very happy we have this ordinance. There are lots of places were people who NEED help can get it in our area. To bad some people take advantage of that !!!

  24. justthefacts on November 30th, 2011 7:39 am

    I did a little research on those arrested above…….
    8- gave addresses
    7- no address
    1- bailed out
    1- charged with drug equipment possession

  25. Baebae on November 30th, 2011 7:15 am

    Some of these may truly need help….guess we can poke at em if we choose too but I would not swap with any of these people. Kinda reminds me of the dog catcher…ride around and gather all the LOOSE ones up…take them to the pound and wait for someone to BAILTHEM OUT…and if no one came for them..put em down….its the last part here that bothers everyone…there are those that will bail out the poor and innocent dogs …but not the people…they will not hold them long in jail…its too expensive…andif they stay in jail….aint that kinda panhandling off the taxpayers too ?….warm bed…cooked and delivered meals….new suit….good conversation…color TV…free transportation….exercise room…oh well gotta go to work..I wil be in the median at Nine Mile and Palafox this morning yall…

  26. itsabouttime on November 30th, 2011 7:14 am

    it is about time. I am so tired of seeing these people on the side of the roads. It is such an eyesore, it wouldn’t be so bad if there weren’t resourses to help these folks out – but there is. They don’t want to get a job, they would much rather perfer a handout.

  27. rollinwiththetide on November 30th, 2011 7:05 am

    It’s about time!! I’m tired of seeing these people hold their signs. Most are just are out there trying to raise money to support their habits.

  28. Molino-Anon on November 30th, 2011 6:55 am

    Come on now sheriff it’s hard living in the hood in Gulf Breeze making bling… all those seagulls flying around and salty sea air burning the eyes. They needed a comfortable spot to panhandle, give them a break.

    /end sarcasm

  29. Well on November 30th, 2011 5:17 am


    Ahh the place to be. Warm,fed and taken care of.

  30. Just wondering on November 30th, 2011 3:05 am

    Wonder what”s gonna happen when no one bails them out of jail.