Escambia Commission Taking Over The County Jail From The Sheriff

June 21, 2013

The Escambia County Commission voted 4-1 Thursday night to take control of the Escambia County Jail effective October 1.

The dissenting vote was cast by Commissioner Luman May.

A battle of sorts erupted between the commission and Sheriff David Morgan after a U.S. Department of Justice found the jail was understaffed and provided inadequate services in some area. Morgan asked for more money, and commissioners balked at the idea of a tax increase to fund the jail.

Morgan fired off a letter to commissioners telling them that the jail was theirs on September 1. Commissioners decided to assume control on October 1 as fiscal year begins and to allow more time to plan the transition.

Currently, there’s a July 10 deadline to resolve the problems to DOJ’s satisfaction.

But County Attorney Alison Rogers said the county will ask for more time to comply, and she believes a multi-year plan to bring the jail into compliance will work as long as the county makes a diligent effort toward compliance with the DOJ findings.


38 Responses to “Escambia Commission Taking Over The County Jail From The Sheriff”

  1. Larence Douglas on August 15th, 2013 1:28 am

    The BOCC might of ran the jail before and some folks assume it”ll be ok and better.Wrong on both counts.The DOJ defined certain changes to be mademthis wil be on the “maybe we can do it this way “list by BOCC. Unfortunately the cost on non complience is a very daily expense cost up to 25K daily. Yes some of you have done the math BOCC said 2.6 billion to make chages and repairs well get ready to watch BOCC ask for yep. MORE MONEY between the purchase of the licenses the re outfitting of every officer in mail jaik ab CBD and staffing not to mention the re marking of all jail vehicles, add HR personell, IA,training dept by whom? Well their 2.6 mil will turn out to be about 4.6 and possibly more. Stand by for heavy rolls and high seas.

  2. goodforall on July 3rd, 2013 3:51 am

    @ clueless> I am in the corrections field. What do you mean volunteer my time? how much clearer can I get that I currently work in this field. I do the work everyday and do it for self satisfaction that we are providing a service to the community. a service that by the way, a weak minded person could not handle. I worked for the state dept. of corrections for 12 years before I came to the road prison. I love my line of work, and also glad I can feed my family. I don’t need a Bentley to travel in this town. Its not all about the money. My 1997 Nissan p/u works just fine. except for a few rattles. but always cranks and gets me where I need to go. You live within your means when your doing a job you love.

  3. Chris on June 24th, 2013 9:25 am

    Whovever runs teh jail shoudl eb smart enough to take note that county jails fall under state guidelines and in the case of an accredited agency, which the ECSO is, the standards are “Florida Model Jail” standards which the ECSO Corrections has routinely met. There may be some staffing issues but as a whole the agency meets the guidleiens set by the state in every way.

    If I were the person in charge at the jail I would tell the DOJ to tee it up and file their lawsuit. Hopefully, a decent judge would look at the facts and that the agency meets or exceeds state guidelines and then would dismiss the case. The DOJ report refers to federal guidelines for housing and so forth of inmates. County jails as noted prior are subject to state guidleines, not necessarily federal ones.

  4. Highrack on June 24th, 2013 7:42 am

    The BOCC ran the jail in the past. All they will do is hire a superintendent to run the jail and the BOCC will handle any disputes in regards to management policies. No big deal.

  5. clueless on June 23rd, 2013 3:30 pm

    Puddin, if they took that stuff away, it would be against their rights.I feel like this has gotten away from the subject. I agree with taking that stuff away but the truth is that even though they are public officials and are trying to make a difference, they still need money to survive. If not then to good for all, you can volunteer your time and work for free as a reserve deputy. Those guys and gals need to feed their family! Oh and I think Walmart could use a person like you since money is not an issue with you.

  6. puddin on June 22nd, 2013 9:54 pm

    Ok, thats fine. If they can do a better job then let them do it. First, lets take the hot pots away from the inmates to make it safer for the S. O.’s. Then how about taking away the razors? Crayons only for writing so they cant stab anyone. Etc. In other words, lets make it safer for the workers, then we can make it safer for the prisoners.

  7. David Huie Green on June 22nd, 2013 9:04 pm

    pensacola bay international adult detention facility

  8. John on June 22nd, 2013 9:02 am

    Maybe they’ll change the name to “The Pensacola Bay Temporary Detention Center”

  9. goodforall on June 22nd, 2013 2:03 am

    I do not see the transition being ugly at all. the jail has some very competent leaders that will continue to do their jobs, if they so choose. Like all places of employment, there is probably some bad apples that need to removed from the orchard. As im sure you are aware, we don’t get into this line of work for the $. This line of work is for those that need to feel like they are making a difference in their communities and making our kids safer. Sure we deal with some knuckle heads along the way, but that’s part of the job. Some can be reached out to and some can’t. I would like to say that I love my Job and the Moral is not down at the road prison and were are under the BCC. Sure everyone thinks they deserve an across the board raise to cope with the rising cost of everything, but as public servants, we have to deal with available funds and county funding issues. no one liked the ECAT gas tax, including me, every citizen had to pay for the transportation of only a few. but we elected these guys and girls to represent us and do what is best for the whole of the county.

  10. clueless on June 22nd, 2013 12:18 am

    Proud of you good for all. I aplaude you for what you do but as the name suggest, some are clueless. The greener the grass the more messy the cow patties! It will be an ugly transition I’m afraid. When it is all said and done, I hope each and every officer gets a fair shake in this deal. I guess that we will see. Just hope those cow patties have dried or a lot of shoes will have a lot of you-know-what on them! I didn’t write my comments to attack officers or their services. I am proud of each of you! Guess its not so for some others on this post.

  11. goodforalll on June 21st, 2013 10:55 pm

    @clueless. I can tell you that you are wrong about several things, as I am sure you have been in the past. All programs belong to the county as did the budget funds that bought them. Nothing belongs to the sheriff, it belongs to we, the citizens. As for the Road Prison staff and their wages. Im sure you will be in for a surprise when your insurance goes up to what theirs is. No more of the sheriff absorbing the price increases of your insurance, and in essence giving yall a raise. We are in this together and the wages and benefits should have always been the same. This is a calling to put yourself in this type/line of work. We should work for the common good of the county and its citizens. It’s not about how green the grass is in the other fields, it about planting and fertilizing to make both fields yield the same quality product. Need I remind you that we are public servants. Work hard and you will get what you deserve. Don’t sit back and expect anyone to give you anything. If you don’t want to work for your pay, you might need to find another line of work, like passing out smillie face stickers at the front door of walmart!!!!! maybe that would be rewarding???

  12. clueless on June 21st, 2013 3:55 pm

    Boy is the the BOCC in for a real wake up call. All programs owned by the S.O. will have to be bought and put on computers. Oh and when the BOCC was in charge before, the jail was ran by paper. Then there is bringing the staff up to the wages as the Road Prison Staff. Then there is the uniform issue. I tell you, Escambia County get ready for a mess! Would not be surprised if you see detention deputies picketing soon. Deputies (Detention) are promised by a leader that he will fight till the end for them then the next day just give up that easy. Nowonder the moral sucks at the place. You just can’t count on anyone anymore.

  13. Noway on June 21st, 2013 3:43 pm

    @ Ifish4

    I would hardly equate running the road prion to running the jails.

  14. Ifish4 on June 21st, 2013 2:36 pm

    The BOCC has been running one jail for years that you hardly every hear about, the road prison in Cantonment.

  15. Richard Smith on June 21st, 2013 1:08 pm

    Giving the jail back to the BOCC was morgan’s plan all along. He knew full well the bocc would not give him any more money. They lied to the face of officers in the past. The posturing was a ploy. valentine and company fell for it hook line and sinker. . They might as well turn the jail into OZ South.

  16. Bill Dixon on June 21st, 2013 10:11 am

    The sheriff was hired to do a job. I wish I could give back responsibilities because I didn’t feel I had enough funding or support. With my job I am required to do my best to make it work with the funding I have. Must be nice being on the top above the weather (the real world). Those of us non elites have to do the job we were assigned as our job duties are specified just like Morgans were. Will he get a pay decrease now that his duties are much much lighter? I think we all know the answer to that. What happened here is simple…Morgan’s posturing backfired. He will no longer get all the funding from the county without having to account for it. I think the CC suspected what a lot of us were thinking. His county jail monies were being used as general fund monies with no accountability. He had the freedom to use the money to buy uniforms, squad cars etc. and come back to the BOCC with his hand out. Like I said… it backfired.

  17. Duke of Wawbeek on June 21st, 2013 9:53 am

    ECC taking over the jail! They’ll run it into the ground.

  18. ed on June 21st, 2013 9:20 am

    BOCC has ran the jail before,all leave above max has to be paid by Morgan

  19. Gary on June 21st, 2013 9:08 am

    May be a silly question, but will the Detention Deputies no longer be employees of the Sheriffs Office? Will there be a change of uniforms?

  20. Mike on June 21st, 2013 8:47 am

    We can only hope that the BOCC does as good a job running the jail as they have everything else they have their hands in. We have a county dump that is so expensive that major haulers haul trash 70 miles to ala to save money. We have an ECAT that requires endless subsidies to keep it running. We have the King of money pits recently renamed the Bay Center. I am sure that we soon can add the jail to the long list of fiascoes that our BOCC have their hands in.

  21. John on June 21st, 2013 8:45 am

    The BOCC had no problem with raising the gas tax for ECAT where the riders should be responsible.I am going out on a limb by saying that with in the next 18 months the money the BOCC will spend on the jail will be triple of what Morgan requested. I also believe that they will in the end raise taxes any body want to make a wager. Thoes who vote for Gene need their heads examined he is the real problem in Escambia County government. My May thank you and welcom to the circus.

  22. Marty Mcfly on June 21st, 2013 8:35 am

    If this actually happens, the BOCC will have to learn how to operate a county jail just like David Morgan did…. Remember he did not have experience with a jail either, he has only military experience ( not that that’s a bad thing…) Sheriff Morgan does not run the jail on a daily basis (and neither will they) He has a very competent and skilled staff in place that does that!! The Detention Deputies are tasked with the daily operations ( care, custody and control) and they do what most people would not want to do for any price!!

  23. The next morning on June 21st, 2013 8:15 am

    The commissioners did factor in the total cost of assuming responsibility of the jail. As Commander Haines mentioned there will be a duplication of services and some of the duplicated positions will be costly. The leave buyout issue is going to cost the BOCCC millions. Assuming licensing for software is going to be expensive. I am almost certain none of these costs were factored into their perceived transitional costs. In the end or quite possibly in the near future the BOCC will realize that their hastily decision is going to cost them more than giving the Sheriff the requested money.With that said, I must give credit to Commissioner May as he was cautious about making a decision until he had a true dollar amount.

  24. Patriot on June 21st, 2013 8:06 am

    Don’t forget to vote!

  25. wm on June 21st, 2013 7:59 am

    Earl Baldree,

    BOCC = Board of County Commissioners

  26. Molino Mom on June 21st, 2013 7:56 am

    My husband was a co when the commissioners ran the jail, years back. Things were ok, it’s just going to take time for the transition.
    Of course, it was a different commission back then. We shall see….

  27. DoubleDip on June 21st, 2013 7:50 am

    Earl BOCC = Board Of County Commisioners I Think ??

  28. Sonic on June 21st, 2013 7:46 am

    The BOCC focus should be to get DOJ satisfied and then be spiteful about taking over the jail. The BOCC priorities are not in order. DOJ should be priority, and then taking over the Jail second. No where in DOJ letter did it suggest or recommend BOCC to take over the Jail. If I was DOJ and read the letters Morgan has sent showing BOCC has not even addressed their concerns, I would not give any kind of an extension. I surely would not give them years to satisfy DOJ’s letter. If anyone re-elects any of these commissioners but L. May should go hide or leave town.

  29. poplardell on June 21st, 2013 7:44 am

    What a novel idea. The county running the county jail.
    The next argument will be how much to cut from the sheriffs budget for running the jail.
    By the way, why does the sheriff not have to get in the hot seat to discuss his budget?
    Because he simply holds his hand out to the BOARD for funds and they take the heat. He should have his own funding source that makes him financially responsible to the people.

  30. Robert S. on June 21st, 2013 7:37 am

    WOW….what a novel idea. Like the CC knows how to operate a jail.
    I am sure if things slide down hill they will just Re-Name it like they did changing the Civic Center to the Bay Center and all of a sudden things are bright and cheerful.
    How will they manage the jail when they are in Panama looking for jobs?
    Uh, where are those jobs they found?

  31. mike on June 21st, 2013 7:08 am

    Uh,…Grover Robinson? Geno Valentino?



    Going to sit back and watch Grover and his skills…

  32. Lynn Hoskins on June 21st, 2013 6:29 am

    hahahaha….they cant even run the county! Morgan has had his hands full, and they will soon discover the challenges he has faced while they keep cutting funding to the system…good luck with that one! and good for Morgan, I hope he sleeps like a baby!!!

  33. Wake up Escambia on June 21st, 2013 6:17 am

    Think about it the moral can not get any worse than it is now. The commission can’t make the jail any more screwed up than Morgan has.

  34. 429SCJ on June 21st, 2013 5:51 am

    and they are welcome to it.

    Good for you Sheriff Morgan, now you can focus on your duties and that clown posse of posers can go play county government.

  35. Earl Baldree on June 21st, 2013 5:49 am

    What do you mean by BOCC it is ok to use it if you would onec tell us what you mean. Thanks

  36. ROGERS on June 21st, 2013 5:31 am


  37. Jane on June 21st, 2013 4:08 am

    So the County Commissioners can just put off the fix but the Sheriff can’t. This should be a real mess considering how the County Commissioers do everything else!

  38. wm on June 21st, 2013 2:26 am

    The County Commission has no idea what they’re getting themselves into…

    1.) Morale is already low amongst the CO staff. Now that they will no longer be Sheriff employees, but BOCC employees — the morale will only get worse.

    2.)The BOCC will now be responsible for obtaining Law Enforcement Liability insurance coverage for the jail and its staff — whereas that was once the Sheriff’s responsibility. The care, custody, and control of pre-trail detainees and post-sentancing inmates is wrought with liability perils. 42 USC 1983 civil rights violation claims are Federal Court issues — not the simple State Tort claims (with associated tort caps) that the BOCC has been used to.

    3.) If the DOJ becomes dissatisfied with progress on improving the jail — a consent decree can (and will) be imposed. Then, you will have Federal personnel DIRECTLY involved with the management and handling of County matters.

    Again, the BOCC has absolutely no idea what they are in store for…

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