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.
Four people, including a former Escambia County deputy, have been arrested in a pair of local drug busts, the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office announced during a press conference Friday.
The four arrests were at two different homes and are not connected, Sheriff David Morgan said at the press conference. In one bust, the Sheriff’s Office arrested Derricko Jamorris Leonard, 37, who investigators believe to be one of the area’s major cocaine distributors.
On Wednesday, the ECSO and partner agencies served a warrant at an apartment in the 7000 block of North 9th Avenue. Deputies allegedly found Leonard in possession of 1.5 kilograms of cocaine and two firearms.
“The amount of dope that he’s bringing in, a kilo of cocaine, he can easily turn that into a street value of $200,00 dollars,” Lt. Robert Quinata, of the ECSO Special Investigations Unit, said. “It’s huge. It’s massive. A lot of people were going to this individual, we suspect.”
The ECSO served a second warrant Wednesday in the 1000 block of Chandelle Lake Drive. The individuals in the home, Ronald David Greholver, 42, Kevin Michael McLemore, 29, and Gary Raymond Stadelmaier, 29, were taken into custody after deputies found suspected bath salts, several types of prescription medicine, hallucinogenic mushrooms, two guns and a pill press.
According to investigators, the pill press was used to shape bath salts — a catch-all phrase for a variety of oft-banned synthetic drugs — to resemble the prescription pill Xanax. Officials said by passing off bath salts (a relatively cheap drug) as Xanax (a much more expensive drug), the suspects were able to greatly increase their profits.
Still, those gains came at a significant safety risk to their alleged customers, according to Assistant State Attorney John Molchan.
“These pills that are homemade pills and drugs are extraordinarily dangerous because there is no quality control, and there is no indication as to what is in there,” Molchan said.
Morgan disclosed that McLemore was a former deputy who had resigned from the agency in 2014 while under an Internal Affairs investigation. Morgan said he could not discuss the nature of the investigation of McLemore, but Morgan said the state had reviewed McLemore’s case and permanently revoked his Florida law enforcement certification.
According to court records, McLemore pleaded no contest to criminal counts of marijuana possession and possession of a controlled substance without a prescription. He was on probation at the time of his arrest, as well as in possession of a weapon despite his status as a convicted felon, officials said.
Molchan said if convicted, all of the individuals involved in the investigation would face minimum mandatory sentences ranging from three years to 25 years.
At the press conference, Molchan thanked the Sheriff’s Office, U.S. Customs, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and the other agencies that assisted in the arrests for their hard work, promising his office would launch a “vigorous” prosecution of the four suspects.
“These individuals are certainly responsible for putting out a great deal of the controlled substances that plague Escambia County, and we’re going to finish off the job by making sure they’re incarcerated for lengthy periods of time,” Molchan said.
Kevin Robinson, firstname.lastname@example.org more