Among the many problems inside the Escambia County Sheriff's Office, one problem has escaped public notice--the lack of Black sheriff deputies and Black civilians.
Related to this lack of diversity is the appearance that promotion to the rank of Captain--a position or paygrade that has zero qualifications listed in the "Rules of the Escambia County Sheriff's Office" dated March 8, 2013, and released to CJ's Street Report on March 11, 2016--is a political plum job for a sworn law enforcement officer of unswerving allegiance to Sheriff Morgan. Loyalty to the Sheriff appears to be the primary determinant of promotion to Captain rather than competence.
On page 40 of the "Rules," there are qualifications for promotion to Lieutenant from Sergeant, but the rank of Captain is not listed. Sheriff Morgan can promote a deputy to captain for any reason he wants to, and reserves the right to fire a captain for any reason he wants to. This is how Sheriff Morgan perpetuates cronyism, favoritism, toadyism, and general incompetence within the ECSO. The reason why deputies leave the ECSO is simple--they cannot stand the work environment created by Sheriff Morgan and enforced by his chief deputies. A simple look at data from the Sheriff's Office and the promotion of two white sergeants to captain provide a glimpse into this putrid work environment.
According to July 2016 Census Bureau estimates, 23% of the population of Escambia County is Black, with Hispanics at 5.6%, Asians at 3%, and whites were 64.8%.
However, the ECSO released its Equal Opportunity Log to CJ's Street Report on January 31, 2017. Of the 389 law enforcement personnel, from Deputy Sheriff Trainee to Sheriff, 341 were white (87.6%) and 27 were Black (6.9%).
Of the ECSO's civilian staff (excluding schools), 189 of 231 (81.8%) were white and 12.9% were Black.
Thus, white deputies and civilians are over-represented in the ECSO while Black law enforcement and civilian personnel are under-represented--by around 50% compared to the Census data. This is a government agency--the one making life and death decisions on the streets of the county--that does not represent the diversity of the county.
The EEO Log also reveals that above the rank of Lieutenant, there is not one Black law enforcement officer responsible for supervising a division. Not one.
Of the 12 captains, 11 are white and 1 is Asian.
In December 2016, Sheriff Morgan, Chief Deputy Simmons, and Chief Deputy Haines managed to promote two white sergeants--Andrew Nelson HOBBS and David Owen INGRAM Jr.--to Captain with a rank of Major. While captain is their grade, major comes with additional assignment pay, much like receiving combat pay or airborne pay. A major's assignment pay is worth roughly another $1,500 per month on top of the pay for a captain.
The annual pay for a Sergeant (class code 6136) ranges from $44,483 to $66,724, for Fiscal Year 2015-2016. The annual pay for a Lieutenant (code 6137) ranges from $52,320 to $78,481. And, the annual pay for a captain (code 6138), and excluding assignment pay, ranges from $73,223 to $109,835.
Thus, assuming that the two white sergeants were within the middle of the Sergeant's payscale at roughly $55,000 and they were promoted to the bottom of the Captain's payscale (excluding Major's assignment pay), they each received roughly an $18,000 pay hike for simply being white and loyal.
Why is this the wage of just being white and loyal?
Because they were promoted over at least one Black Lieutenant, two Asian Lieutenants, and one Hispanic Lieutenant (see EEO Log). Moreover, on the "2016 Official Promotional Law Enforcement List," Sergeant HOBBS was ranked 12th on the list to be promoted to Lieutenant and Sergeant INGRAM was not even ranked for promotion. In other words, even if they had been promoted to Lieutenant, they were not as qualified as other personnel on the approved list.
Thus, both HOBBS and INGRAM not only jumped over 3 minority Lieutenants, they also jumped over Sergeants who were more qualified to become Lieutenants.
When Sheriff Morgan ran for office he touted himself as an opponent of the "Good Ole Boy" network. We can now see Sheriff Morgan for what he really is. He and his two chief deputies are more than willing to perpetuate the corrupt GOB game, but this game has serious negative effects on people of color in terms of promotions and income growth. A pay raise of perhaps $18,000 would certainly help a person put a down payment on a house or pay medical bills or save for their children's college education.
That the promotions of HOBBS and INGRAM came at the expense of arguably three more qualified minority Lieutenants and other Sergeants suggest that Morgan, Simmons, and Haines are the primary reason deputy sheriffs are leaving the ECSO.
Whatever the motivations of Morgan, Simmons, and Haines in promoting less-qualified or unqualified personnel over minorities and other more qualified Sergeants indicates to the rank-and-file that studying hard, playing by the rules, and sacrificing to get ahead really do not matter. What really matters is whether you are undyingly loyal to Sheriff Morgan. What really matters is that you campaign for Sheriff Morgan's re-election. What really matters is that your wife works as the Sheriff's secretary.
Why are sheriff deputies leaving the ECSO? Because Morgan, Haines, and now Simmons poison the work environment with their corrupt favoritism and cronyism.
While the Board of County Commissioners grapple with increasing pay for deputies--which would also benefit the top-heavy, virtually all-white management--perhaps the commissioners might want to examine why deputies leave the ECSO in droves and why Sheriff Morgan promotes less qualified candidates over more qualified candidates.