The Escambia County Sheriff’s Office honored its fallen in a memorial ceremony Thursday morning.
Dozens of deputies, family members, public officials and caring citizens crowded into the Sheriff’s Office to remember 15 men who gave their lives in service of their community.
Sheriff David Morgan told attendees that although it had been decades since some of the deputies ended their watch, none of them had been forgotten.
“Today, we have the privilege to honor each and every one of them,” Morgan said.
In a video tribute, loved ones of fallen deputies spoke about what is was like to lose their fathers, sons, husbands and brothers. They recounted memories of their kindness and courage. They talked about how much it meant that at least once a year, the community mourned with them.
Onlookers wiped their eyes and held their remaining loved ones a bit closer.
Outside, there was a rifle salute and a roll call for the fallen officers. One-by-one, family members placed roses on a memorial next to the name of the person they had lost.
During his address, Morgan reminded the families that they were not alone and their sacrifices were not for naught.
“It has been years since you last heard their voice, since you last laughed with them and cried with them,” the sheriff said. “During these precious moments, we long more for their presence. It is in those moments of sadness though, that a sign of their presence returns that shows you they are still here.”
Kevin Robinson, firstname.lastname@example.org
The fallen officers and their end of watch are:
The Escambia County Sheriff’s Office announced Friday that investigators had arrested 10 people and seized approximately $500,000 worth of narcotics in what’s being called the agency’s largest-ever drug bust.
During a four-year investigation, ECSO investigators identified Pensacola resident Alfred James Hayes, 41, as the alleged leader of a drug trafficking ring that dealt large volumes of heroin, methamphetamine, cocaine and pills in the area. In a multi-jurisdictional operation this week, deputies and law enforcement partners arrested Hayes, several of his family members and an array of suspected drug suppliers, distributors and couriers.
“Our narcotics team, along with other agencies, helped put a major dent in the illegal drug distribution in our county,” Escambia County Sheriff David Morgan said during a press conference Friday morning.
Morgan said that in addition to the arrests, deputies recovered approximately 500 grams of heroin, three pounds methamphetamine, about 100 grams of cocaine, $40,000 in cash and numerous vehicles and electronics believed to have been purchased with drug money.
Lt. Robert Quinata of the ECSO Narcotics Unit said the seizure equated to hundreds of street-level narcotics sales thwarted and a major disruption to the local drug trade.
Alfred Hayes’ co-conspirators allegedly included his cousin, Lonnie James Hayes, and two of his nephews, brothers Eric and Marcus Stallworth, all of whom are now in custody. Juan Martinez, the group’s alleged supplier, was arrested in Houston by U.S. Marshals.
“To infiltrate a group like that, it takes a lot,” Quinata said. “That’s what made this so difficult and why it took so long to get these individuals, because they’re all related by blood … They thought they were untouchable. In this case, they’re not. We finally got them.”
The U.S. Marshals, U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, the Baldwin County Sheriff’s Office and other agencies assisted in the operation.
Assistant State Attorney John Molchan said the state would “vigorously” pursue trafficking and conspiracy charges, and that some suspects could be facing mandatory minimum sentences of up to 25 years in prison if convicted.
Kevin Robinson, email@example.com
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The Escambia County Sheriff’s Office presents a 2 and a half hours seminar entitled “Dynamics of Violence in the Workplace” quarterly at 1700 West Leonard Street. The next scheduled class is on May 26th at 5:30PM. The goals of the training are to communicate the need to recognize the signs of impending violence. Also the development of mitigating tactics and strategies that will prevent or lessen the negative effects of workplace violence. It’s FREE and open to all adults.read more
A Milton man, Michael Rodgers is being charged with murder in the death of Gunther. Rodgers is currently being held in Jefferson Parish, Louisiana following his arrest related to attempts to assume the identity of the missing man. The extradition process initiated by the State Attorney will bring Rodgers back to Florida to face the murder charges. The full press conference announcing the matter is available on the ECSO facebook. https://www.facebook.com/OfficialECSO/