Valentino misspoke on jail

June 11, 2013

Investigation into Criminal Activity in ECSO Jail Concludes

The Escambia County Sheriff’s Office is pleased to announce the conclusion of the criminal investigation against our officers based upon allegations raised by Escambia County Commissioner Gene Valentino. As the public may recall, Commissioner Valentino alleged through the media in two separate recorded interviews that Escambia County detention deputies were using laptops and being inattentive to inmates. Laptops are not issued to line officers in the Escambia County Jail. Unauthorized laptops are considered contraband and therefore a felony under Florida statute.

Commissioner Valentino had asserted in the second recorded interview that this information was not “off the cuff” but that it was given to him directly by law enforcement officer sources.

Even though Sheriff Morgan requested the Commissioner’s assistance, Commissioner Valentino refused to provide information to assist in this felony investigation. With the assistance of the State Attorney’s Office, Commissioner Valentino was subpoenaed to provide information to
identify his sources so the investigation could continue. Commissioner Valentino, upon being interviewed by the State Attorney’s Office, admitted
he had one and only one source. This source is a convicted felon and former inmate who had last been inside the jail in 2009.

In addition to the felony conviction, this source had also been convicted of 92 misdemeanors. When asked specifically to name the law enforcement source he had alleged to be in contact with, he stated to the State Attorney’s Office that he had misspoken and that there was no law enforcement source.

Because this information is four years old and from an unreliable source, it would be impossible to follow up and identify if there were any deputies with unauthorized laptops. We are of the opinion that the event never occurred and have concluded that any further investigation is unwarranted. We hope that the serious issues that the Department of Justice has identified will now return to the front and center of the county’s attention.

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  • Time for truth Mr. Parker June 15, 2013 at 2:59 pm

    Mr. Dale Parker,
    Can ANYONE tell me how they came up with that staffing number?
    I can tell you if you are willing to listen. I helped gather information for that study with the person that compiled it and sent it to the company that the DOJ is relying on because of its accurate data. What is used to get that number is all the posts that are required to be manned for the daily operations of the jail, post requirements, man power needed to fill those posts and man power needed to help fill posts so officers can have time off, whether sick, vacation, family emergencies, etc. When I started in 2000 we had 31 officers (not counting supervisors 4) to man the posts. So if there was 24 posts to man you had 7 officers that could be used for extra things like cell searches or help in situations, or they could have time off. But when McNesby and Dennis Williams came in we were cut from 31 officers to about 23 officers on a shift and today a shift might have only 21 officers depending on retirements, sickness, etc. So you see a shift that has 24 posts to fill is already starting out under staffed and can not man all the posts. Dennis Williams always said “do more with less”, hence efficiency, which is what Gene Valentino is parroting because Dennis has his hand up Gene’s backside moving his mouth. Efficiency in a business helps promote profit, but efficiency in a jail promotes constitutional right violations and an unsafe place for staff and inmates. If the BOCC does not come up with a plan for the DOJ they will cost the tax payers a lot of money in daily finds set by the DOJ, not Rick or anybody else. So if you know how the numbers were arrived at you don’t have to ask how it was done.
    The Jail and Medical is accredited by the state. HOW DID THAT HAPPEN if it were so bad?
    That is because you do not understand what is needed to achieve accreditation. The team looks at the polices of the agency, questions the staff to see if they know the polices and correctly applies the polices in their daily job performances. They look at the facilities for cleanliness, and emergence plans for fire, disasters, etc. The team does not check to see if constitutional rights are being violated. So even though the jail is way understaffed they can still perform their duties superbly and keep it accredited, but they are too understaffed to provide the duties required to do cell searches and other things that would make the jail a safe place for staff and inmates, hence violating their constitutional rights. Privatizing the jail would not fix the DOJ problems because they operate at bear minimum requirement of officers so they can maximize the profit for the company, which is why there is a higher turn over of officers all the time. Blackwater Prison run by GEO pays their nurses 27.00 per hour and their officers 14.85 per hour so it happens where officers make up the pay difference is by getting paid by inmates to smuggle things in for them. So you can achieve accreditation and still be lacking under the DOJ investigations, which are to totally different things.
    How many people are being held on silly $500 dollar bonds for minor infractions like DWLS or petty theft?
    Well Mr. Parker if a person has committed three petit thefts or dwls and has been convicted they become felonies and go to state prison because the state legislators made that a law, so write them. The sheriff has nothing to do with the bond that is addressed by the state attorney and the judge either agrees or disagrees and sets a different bond.
    No one seems to mention that the Jail was state of the art when it was built requiring less officers to maintain…
    The jail was built in the very early 1980’s like 82-84 and that was built because of the DOJ Lawsuit against the county for not having enough space for the inmates. That cost the tax payers because the county had to pay daily fines until it was built. Mr. Parker can you find anything else that was built as state of the art in the early 1980’s that is still state of the art today? What was the crime rate in the early 1980’s compared to today? Maybe less officers was needed then, but the inmate population has grown since then and requires more officers because the daily operations of the jail is different today compared to then.

    I agree with you on this issue that it is jail and it should not be fun, but the jail holds people that are presumed innocent and have not been found guilty yet. When they are found guilty then they are sent to state prison to serve their punishment, but while they are in jail the constitutional rights set forth by the founding fathers are there to protect the innocent and guilty. Just like the police are not allowed to break the law to enforce the law because of the constitution, the same holds true in the jail.
    Mr. Parker I think it is time for you and others to start asking questions instead of writing like you know what is going on, because you do not have a clue what is going on. Why don’t you see if you could spend some time in the jail watching what the officers do and experience first hand a little of what is going on and quit second guesses what is going on.

  • Bobby van Deusen June 15, 2013 at 2:04 pm

    John, do you have any evidence? Or are you using the same source Commissioner Valentino used? What is your ‘good authority’?

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