Valentino misspoke on jail

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.