SRO’s Cut In Half At Ernest Ward, Tate, Northview, Pine Forest, Escambia

July 28, 2017

The number of school resource officers in several schools will be cut in half under an agreement reached Thursday between Escambia County Sheriff David Morgan and School Superintendent Malcolm Thomas.

Tate, Escambia and Pine Forest high schools will go from two to one school resource officer on campus, while Northview High and Ernest Ward Middle will share a SRO beginning this school year. The current three SRO supervisors will be reduced to two. That is total elimination of five SRO positions.

“This is a compromise with Superintendent Malcolm Thomas who we have a great partnership with that ensures all schools will receive at least minimal coverage,” said Morgan.
“Until a few years ago, the SRO was split between Ernest Ward and Northview, and have one between the schools is much better than the alternative of none, and that was unacceptable,” Thomas said. He said the two school principals will work together to best share the SRO.

“Most of the calls that a SRO handles at Northview and Ernest Ward are not urgent crimes,” Thomas said. “Patrol deputies can also respond if there is an urgent situation.”

Thomas said there are times that Tate High School could use five or six SROs due to events on campus, but the ordinary school will proceed with just one deputy.

“It is a workable situation at Tate and it’s better to have one that none at all,” the superintendent said.

“Maintaining the presence of school resource officers in Escambia’a middle and high schools is the best practice for school security,” Thomas said. “The agreement reached today creates a solution which assists Sheriff Morgan with his budget and manpower concerns, while preserving the law enforcement presence on each of our secondary school campuses.”

Morgan had threatened to remove all SRO’s from the impacted schools as the Escambia County Commission refused to meet his budget and manpower requests.

Pictured top. Now retired Florida School Resource Office of the Year Ronnie Gill (center), Chief Deputy Chip Simmons (right) and a group of school resource officers at Ernest Ward Middle School. file photo, click to enlarge.


42 Responses to “SRO’s Cut In Half At Ernest Ward, Tate, Northview, Pine Forest, Escambia”

  1. B on August 1st, 2017 7:53 pm

    Where were all these unhappy people during the last election? Morgan’s activities were held up many times in public forums so no voter can say “No one told me he was like this! ” yet, he was voted back in, anyway.

    I’d laugh but these issues are just so sad.

  2. Chris in Molino on July 31st, 2017 2:29 pm

    @K in Cantonment- I understand how you feel but sometimes children won’t mind. They learn awful things from other kids at school also. Like “put your hands on me and I’ll call Children & Families” which causes even worse problems. I never had problems with mine out of the norm but I see good people getting run over by kids all the time.

  3. K in Cantonment on July 31st, 2017 8:42 am

    Place blame everywhere but where it belongs, BACK IN THE HOME, we would not need Officers in the schools if these snotty nose little brats were made to mind at home. JUST SAYING!
    No Officers in our schools growing up why– WE WERE RAISED TO HAVE RESPECT!!!

  4. Bob C. on July 30th, 2017 9:46 pm

    @ Becky
    “Why are our school the first place they make cuts? The children should come first. The whole future is in their hands.”

    Morgan is once again using his bullying and intimidation tactics to try and scare us citizens into a panic. SRO officers are part of OUR Schools Family and do so much more than patrol and guard.
    Call YOUR County Commissioner and DEMAND they get and publish publicly a Full and Complete expenditure of the sheriff’s Law Enforcement Trust Funds where HUNDREDS of THOUSANDS of taxpayer dollars are squandered on Billboards and posters showing the sheriff in various poses. What does the sheriff have to do with water safety?
    The FIRST use of Law Enforcement Trust Funds is for School Safety / SRO’s.
    Not to promote the office of sheriff.

  5. green rocket on July 30th, 2017 9:14 am

    Mary, why would you even make a remark that says assault charges would be brought against anyone who spanks your child? That is my point. Congratulations on having children who have achieved so much.

  6. Jamie Lowman on July 29th, 2017 7:20 pm

    Thank you Chris in Molino and Olin S. Schultz! He became Sheriff ONLY to be there for his deputies and to take care of his deputies! He was NEVER a politician! Thanks again for the comments! Miss my Daddy, Sheriff Jim Lowman.

  7. Chris in Molino on July 29th, 2017 2:42 pm

    @Sheriffs Daughter—-Your dad was the best Sheriff this county has seen in recent history, maybe ever. Looked out for his deputies, expanded the jail, kept crime down, and grew the ECSO to what it is today. Many people, even deputies aren’t aware of what he did for everyone. The staff at his department more than doubled while he was Sherrif. My dad worked there for 31 years and retired in 98′. I also have a son at Tate so I can relate a lot.

  8. Becky on July 29th, 2017 11:16 am

    Why are our school the first place they make cuts? The children should come first. The whole future is in their hands.

  9. Olin S Schultz on July 29th, 2017 9:06 am

    Sheriffs daughter
    If you are who I think you are, your dad was a true LEO and cared about his people. Sir Morgan is more worried about the part in his hair than the safety of our kids.

  10. Mary on July 29th, 2017 8:01 am

    @greenrocket my kids behave youngest is 20 lives @ home making straight A’s &….aug is last term before going on for his BA..1 is a nurse& mother..1 teaches school in Ga. ….and 1 is a single what was you point?

  11. Niknak50 on July 29th, 2017 7:26 am

    Something that should be mentioned, it was a sad day in America when we had to start putting deputies in our nations schools. Which, coincidentally began about the same time God was no longer welcome.

  12. PSD on July 28th, 2017 11:32 pm


  13. Sheriff's Daughter on July 28th, 2017 10:04 pm

    My Daddy was a dean at Woodham High School, a ESCO Deputy, moving up thru the ranks to Captain, then Sheriff. Now as a mother of a high school freshman at Tate, I wish things were the way they were when I was at Tate, like they were when my Daddy was alive, but sadly, they are not. Sheriff Morgan, think long and hard about your decisions, pray for God’s guidance as my Daddy did, and keep our children in North Escambia safe. They deserve the same protection the other kids in Escambia county receive.

  14. Bob C. on July 28th, 2017 9:46 pm

    @ David Huie Green

    At the bottom of: your excellent idea of posters in the schools:

    “Sheriff Morgan says, “Mind your teachers, stay out of trouble, know and obey the laws, respect each other and study hard.”

    You’d need to put “Don’t do Drugs, Make sure to Lock your Locker” and they’d have to be printed by La–mer and be paid for from the Law Enforcement Trust Fund like the drywall in the Filipino-American Club.

    Misdirecting funds and using bullying tactics should NOT be requirements for the position of sheriff.

    BOCC — 4 of you GET the Picture, Stay Strong and Demand a Full Audit.

  15. Elmo on July 28th, 2017 8:26 pm

    Ok then, I say take all the SROs out of the schools and put them back on regular patrol. Train the coaches, principals, guidance counselors and teachers with the NRA certified weapons training and that will be way better than just one officer on duty. How many times have we seen the school employees risking their lives without a firearm, DNA under their finger nails and all we can say after they get shot and killed is that they was a hero!!!? It’s due time for a change of rational thinking people!! A teacher, “Mother her self” will fight for our children, grandkids to the death! I’m sick and tired of hearing about dead hero’s, give them something to work with and the cowards will not chose our little ones as an easy target!!

  16. M in Bratt on July 28th, 2017 7:22 pm

    If this were truly a cost saving measure, Sheriff Hollywood would reduce his force by the number of resource officers he is pulling out of the schools. I speculate he is taking these measures for the press coverage he gets, and he is trying to hold this over the Commissioners heads. Sheriff Hollywood; live within your means like the rest of us are doing and quit your whining.

  17. DAW on July 28th, 2017 6:57 pm

    So all this drama over 5 deputy positions that the school board assists in the funding of?

    Can we just get the salary and position of each person from the sheriff down posted? How many chiefs, generals, colonels, majors, captains, 1st lieutenants, regular lieutenants, sergeants, etc does it take to run this department? Add to that all the special positions and enhanced units, and I can tell you SRO’s were cut to hit a nerve with the public. The problem with having a politician for a sheriff is pretty obvious. Once a sheriff gets that second term they secure that sheriff’s retirement so they get the “I can do anything” syndrome.

    I’m sure if this departmentioned even conducted exit interviews of the good people they are losing, they would not want to divulge that information to anyone. It’s time to clean out some dusty corners in that building and get rid of some of the arrogant people that forgot their true mission a long time ago.

  18. Donald on July 28th, 2017 5:51 pm

    The Deputies do deserve a raise. I think everyone would agree on that! The men and women who protect us have not had a raise in years. There insurance keeps going up, and there retirement plans go down. The problem is the citizens of Escambia county are not Holding the sheriff accountable. If you remember
    the sheriff ran against Ron Mcnesby and used the platform that he was to top heavy. He had to many ranking offers on the top, that were paid high salaries! “Rember people”. Now look at his administration? Two Deputy Chiefs? The two Sgts that put up his political signs this last election? The two Sergeant’s went straight to Major’s and got $45′000 raises. So now we can cut officers out of schools? Really?? Wake up people, start holding your sheriff accountable and stop listening to his lips!!

  19. Shakespere on July 28th, 2017 2:29 pm

    I have never seen so much drama in politics in my life at a local level. Today the sherriff play and his mouthpiece play the your old poor dead momma and children card. The BOCC called their bluff. can’t wait to see what the Governor says. (If they even play that card.

    Texas hold’em — or no peek poker..

    Or five card STUD.

    I have my money on Commissioner Barry. Underhill is propably the sherriffs pocket, Robinson just want his beach stuff and out, Bergosh is along for the ride sayin what just happenned? May..well if it benefits “Blah blah blah some ol narritive” he’s in..

    All the world’s a stage,
    And all the men and women merely players;
    They have their exits and their entrances,
    And one man in his time plays many parts,

    As far as blaming the attrition on salaries, how about providing the exit interviews?

    As far as me I do not intend to be a victim either way. So I am turning this drama off!!

  20. Olin S Schultz on July 28th, 2017 2:23 pm

    The sheriff is using our SROs to try to sway the commisioners for a raise. Yes our men and women in uniform need raises but they took an oath to protect. Sir Morgan is doing this at the childrens expense. He is a poor excuse for a sheriff and the best thing that could happen is for him to turn in his badge and let Chip Simmons try to pull the troops back together.

  21. David Huie Green on July 28th, 2017 1:14 pm

    Perhaps most problems could be solved by putting up posters in every hallway and classroom of Sheriff Morgan pointing out at the reader and saying:

    “Sheriff Morgan says, “Mind your teachers, stay out of trouble, know and obey the laws, respect each other and study hard.” ”

    It might ever calm down disgruntled parents.

    David for memorable solutions

  22. 429SCJ on July 28th, 2017 11:53 am

    A school resource officer is most needed when external threats trespass onto school campuses, thereby endangering students and faculty.

    Arming school principles and key staff could be a possible solution. Many teachers and administrators possess prior military experience and with training, could safely carry and if needed, employ weapons to deal with a threat.

  23. Fedupparent on July 28th, 2017 11:02 am

    Those that don’t have kids in escambia county schools must not realize the need for SRO’s in our schools, especially high school. Having 2 kids in one of these above mentioned schools and 1 having already graduated I as a parent think this is ridiculous. While our commissioners and superintendent make rather nice salaries and drive expensive cars (yes iv witnessed this) we cut from the safety of our children instead of their unnecessary paychecks. Yet we still have more than enough cops at the courthouse, airport ect. (Where we also are made to go thru security measures, yet not our schools.) instead of focusing so much on a dress code (which last I checked no school member buys my kids clothes) focus of cutting unnecessary expenses to provide safety for our kids, especially in this day and time.

  24. William on July 28th, 2017 10:35 am

    >Wow, to state at times Tate needs 5 STO’s doesn’t speak concerning discipline within our schools, were the Parents

    ” there are times that Tate High School could use five or six SROs due to events on campus”

    NO that would be events like football games and other sport events that bring large numbers of people onto campus, not discipline events

  25. Matt on July 28th, 2017 10:16 am

    The schools can borrow some from the Courthouse in Pensacola! Ever since the jail exploded, there has been about 30-40 Deputy vehicles parked out there. It is not uncommon to walk into the Courthouse and see 5-6 deputies “guarding” the back door along side the securitas.

  26. Taxpayers on July 28th, 2017 10:12 am

    Wow, to state at times Tate needs 5 STO’s doesn’t speak concerning discipline within our schools, were the Parents, Administration and deans? SRO’s can’t run our schools. Sad

  27. green rocket on July 28th, 2017 8:57 am

    Mary, if your children just behave themselves, there would be no reason for them to be paddled. I was also paddled when I was in elementary school and that was in the early 50’s and I deserved it. Of course when I got home, I received another paddling. Teachers should be able to teach and not have to worry about disruptive children. It is sad that teachers really have no power to have disruptive children removed from their classrooms permanently. Playing politics is not the way to get an increased budget. Why should there be cuts in the sheriff’s department if they are getting the same amount of money they got this year?

  28. paul on July 28th, 2017 8:52 am

    Deans & Coaches took care of business when I was in school.
    In the early years it was the Feared Nuns.. You didn’t want them mad at you.. ;)

  29. Olin S Schultz on July 28th, 2017 8:37 am

    I agree fully with what Malcolm Thomas said on the news about calling 911 when there are problems and no officers there. Unlike Mary”s comment, I am a firm believer in spanking when it is necessary and I believe that the problems we are facing as adults in todays trials with our out of control teens could be altered with a little old fashion “getting after some rearend” instead of worring that we as parents will ve punished ourself. I worked for Sir Morgan and other better known Sheriffs and worked for 7 years without a raise. I didnt stop watching inmates due to not getting a raise. Sheriff Morgan again is trying to push his Air Force Plane gaurding chest around. Suck it up and do your dang job. These kids need authority and thats that!

  30. Molino Mom on July 28th, 2017 8:23 am

    SHO-NUFF – Love your comment and it is SO true!
    Back in the 80’s when I was in high school…we didn’t need cops to police the schools because – back then – that’s what deans and principals were there for. One of the problems these days is…the teachers are afraid of the students because several of them are so out of control and carrying weapons! It’s just a really sad world that our children/grandchildren are being born into….I pray for mine each and every day! I was totally unaware of Tate High being such a “problematic” school. Very sad to hear.

  31. Esc co leo on July 28th, 2017 8:05 am

    @ SHO-NUFF

    Times change. Paddling isn’t an option anymore. Now we have active shooters, terrorism, stalkers and drugs in middle schools. Unfortunately having SROs is a necesssity these days.

  32. Mary on July 28th, 2017 8:01 am

    to all that think of the days when it was OK to “paddle” a kid we live in a totally different world then..IF 1 of my 4 kids were paddled by a dean/principle there would be a assault charge brought against them….YES I was paddled once in high school..

  33. Mary on July 28th, 2017 7:58 am

    So the North End of the county doesn’t matter to Sheriff Morgan…Real smart…There is sooo much wooded areas around these schools they DESERVE a Resource Officer too!!!!!!

  34. molino resident on July 28th, 2017 7:48 am

    I agree with Sho-nuff

  35. Bubba Blogger on July 28th, 2017 7:47 am

    Amen SHO-NUFF! I had many a paddle on my back side by the dean or principle/asst. principle…never had any “SRO’s” or even truant officers for that matter. A deputy’s job is not to discipline, let alone raise our kids.

  36. jj on July 28th, 2017 7:16 am

    1978 – Escambia High School – Dean Cotton – No need for a deputy. His paddle ruled!

  37. randall on July 28th, 2017 6:33 am

    SHO NUFF. is right. and GOD

  38. Anne on July 28th, 2017 6:24 am

    School district and sheriff dept split the cost of School Resource Officers (SRO) 50/50.
    The entire burden of cost is not upon the sheriff’s budget as may have been implied.

    SRO’s are not only a Law Enforcement presence on the school campus they are a part of the school family and serve as mentors and safe persons for students to go to in time of needs.

    Perhaps is Mr. Morgan would fare better if he directed from the “Charitable Donations” or whatever they are called from the drug monies seized that could be used for Deputy equipment and training thus providing extra funds from the General Fund for pay raises. I have difficulty understanding how some of the “Charities” work to help stop crime or drugs. How many drugs are in the community of the Pensacola Children’s Opera?

  39. SW on July 28th, 2017 6:18 am

    Bad politics, Sheriff Morgan.

  40. RASHEED jACKSON on July 28th, 2017 6:12 am

    Sad,sad,sad!!! Why is there even a need for School Resource Officers in our schools? If the School Boards and Superintendents would eliminate the small percentage of students that create the need for these over qualified baby sitters our schools could return to a place of learning like they were intended. What we have are small contingents of the student population that are non productive and disruptive to the learning process. This needs to be eliminated so that our schools can become institutions of learning. Our educational system should be considered a privilege, and not a guaranteed right or an absolute requirement.
    This privilege should be made available to all that are old enough to participate but once an individual abuses that privilege he or she should no longer be allowed to participate. Teens, young adults, that have criminal records, drugs and or violent crimes, should not be allowed in our schools.
    Sadly our School Boards will not stand up for the children that are quietly waiting to be educated because they are to busy running after the loud, disruptive, and demanding populace. I heard it said ” if we can save just one it is all worth it’. Well how many are you losing along the way while you try to save one. It’s time to get rid of the need for SRO’s and return to the three “R’s” .

  41. Dan on July 28th, 2017 4:57 am

    @sho nuff
    Here here I can remember getting paddled twice in one day and just praying that my dad didn’t find out about it bring the paddles back

  42. SHO-NUFF on July 28th, 2017 3:56 am

    We never had a Deputy Sheriff on campus while attending middle or high school during the 70’s and 80’s.
    We had Deans with paddles that had no problem applying them to our butts when needed.

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