Santa’s helpers still wear green, but they were packing a little extra hardware this year.
On Friday afternoon, the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office hosted its annual “Shop with a Cop” event at the Wal-Mart on U.S. 29 in Pensacola. Deputies escorted 63 area underserved children through the store as the kids bought Christmas gifts for themselves and their families.
Six-year-old Amiyah was on the hunt for Barbie makeup, a “Frozen” dress and new shoes.
Gabriel, 12, was shopping for a bike, new clothes and some action figures.
Each child participating in the event was provided a $200 gift card and encouraged to shop not just for themselves, but for their parents and siblings. The children came from difficult home situations and were hand-picked for the program by the Escambia County School District to ensure they enjoyed a Merry Christmas.
Escambia County Sheriff’s deputies and select students shop for Christmas gifts at Wal Mart on Hwy 29 Friday afternoon. The annual “Shop with a Cop” event gives the selected student to but Christmas gifts for themselves or loved one.
The Sheriff’s Office has been hosting the event for the past four years, and Shop with a Cop is funded through seized drug money and support from community sponsors.
Cmdr. Dale Tharp, who organizes the event each year with help from Captain Robby Martin and Lt. Ken Simmons, said the event is one of the most rewarding things he has done in his 35-year-law enforcement career. He added that he typically has to turn away deputies hoping to volunteer, and that the program helps form bonds between children and law enforcement.
“You hear so many negative things in the media,” Tharp said. “This is just a way to remind them, we’re the good guys.
Each year, the Sheriff’s Office has increased the scope of the event to include more children and give them larger amounts to spend. Wal-Mart has partnered with the ECSO on the event for the past three years, and after the shopping, the store provided the kids with a free meal.
Simmons stressed Shop with a Cop wouldn’t be possible without the help of all the businesses, individuals and deputies who pitched in, and said there was no way to put a price on the joy and excitement the kids take away from the event.
“We try to reach as many kids as we can with it,” Simmons said. “The deputies meet the kids and the families beforehand and form a bond. We want them to know they’re not just their officer for the event, they’re their officer for life.”
Children laughed, joked and meandered through the aisles Friday, leading eager deputies who helped fill their shopping carts with LEGO sets, tablets, board games and other goodies.
Sgt. David Brown, who was escorting Gabriel, described it as an awesome experience.
“Of all the things we get to do in life, not only as an agency but as individuals, this is the greatest thing you can do,” Brown said.read more
DAVID MORGAN, SHERIFF of Escambia County, Florida, will at 10:00 A.M. on the 15th day of DECEMBER 2016, sell at public auction to the highest and best bidder for cash in hand the following described livestock:
BLACK FEMALE GOAT (WITHOUT HORNS)
Sale will be held at ESCAMBIA COUNTY SHERIFF’S OFFICE SUBSTATION, 5844 North Highway 29, Molino, Florida, 32577, CALL 850-436-9447.read more
Former Pensacola Chief of Police Chip Simmons was sworn in at the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office Thursday morning. After spending 29 years at the PPD and roughly 18 months in Escambia County government as an assistant county administrator, Simmons now serves as a Chief Deputy of Operations at the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office. His duties include oversight of the Patrol, Investigations and SWAT divisions.
In a ceremony attended by deputies, Pensacola police officers and well-wishers, Simmons was administered the law enforcement oath by Sheriff David Morgan at the ECSO administration building. Afterward, Simmons said he planned to use all the things he learned in the PPD and county government to help improve the Sheriff’s Office. A polite, professional and strong ECSO are part of his vision as stated at the ceremony.
Chief Eric Haines will be assuming the helm in Administration. Sheriff Morgan said that many changes, embracing best practices, would be forthcoming in the near future at the Sheriff’s Office.
The Escambia County Sheriff’s Office and Explorers Post 117 are teaming up for another “Shop With A Cop holiday season event.” Children in need were identified by the Escambia County School District and our ECSO School Resource Officers. They will participate in the program which takes place on Friday December 16th at Walmart on Highway 29.
Volunteer deputies will accompany 63 children; 2 per deputy. The students will each receive $200 gift cards for use at the Walmart on that day. It’s a heartwarming sight to watch these children have their holiday wishes fulfilled thanks to a caring community.
Lt. Ken Simmons of the ECSO Community Services division coordinates the program which has been a regular holiday happening for years. A record amount of contributions has been raised this year from community minded business persons and individuals.
Here is a list of our contributors :
Gulf Coast Seafood
Precision Door Service / RS Boes LLC
Pensacola Motorsports, LLC
Performance Driven, Inc.
Sergio & Margaret Uriarte
McVay Motors Inc.
Faith Chapel Funeral Services, LLC
Myrtle Grove Lodge #352
Trahan Family Funeral Home
The Escambia County Sheriff’s Office proudly participated in the 2016 Veterans Day Parade in downtown Pensacola. Starting at 9AM and proceeding along Main Street and Bayfront Parkway the procession ended at Veterans Memorial Park where there were speeches and food vendors. The Escambia County Sheriff’s Office was represented by our Motors Unit led by Sgt. Jeff Swanson, Explorers Post 117, Deputy Chris Echele in the Explorers bus, Sgt. Curtis Cephas and the Mounted Unit. The Community Services Unit has coordinated our parade involvement for many years. Below are a selection of photos from the parade.read more
Today the SRO Unit received a Unit Citation from Sheriff David Morgan and the Senior Commander Dale Tharp received the Legion of Merit award.
Senior Commander Dale Tharp developed the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office School Resource Unit in 1986. The ECSO was one of the first agencies in Northwest Florida to initiate a School Resource Officer Program. The program began with one officer at an inner city, troubled high school. Since that time the program has flourished to include fifteen officers, one K9 and three supervisors, which cover a community of over 300,000 residents and a school district of over 45,000 students.
ECSO deputies assigned to the School Resource Unit are responsible for over 2,000 calls for service per school year. Along with their daily responsibilities and duties our officers spend countless hours mentoring, tutoring and coaching children to improve students’ lives.
Our SROs are instrumental in working with schools to create a safer environment. When a specific school in our district was identified as having an extremely disruptive student population, our SROs developed and implemented a plan that led to a dramatic drop in behavioral issues among students. Officers educate faculty, students, and parents through numerous presentations outside of school hours including a “Transition Presentation” for elementary students as they transition to high school, and most recently, an “Informed Parent Workshop”, to share pertinent information on cyber bullying in our schools.
To further build the relationship between the SROs and the student population, the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office SRO Unit hosts and participates in several events within our community. Two of their favorite events include the ECSO’s Camp Friendship and Shop with a Cop.
For molding our youth, the future leaders of tomorrow, the SRO Unit was awarded a Unit Citation.
The singularly distinctive accomplishments of Senior Commander Dale Tharp reflect great credit upon himself, the profession of law enforcement and the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office, therefore Commander Tharp was awarded the Legion of Merit.