Six years after stressing his support for term limits and pledging to serve no more than two terms, Escambia County Sheriff David Morgan was sworn in for a third four-year term on Tuesday.
“I believe in term limits from the top of my head to the soles of my feet,” Morgan said in 2010. “If I go stupid and run for a third term, do not vote for me.”
But by 2014, Morgan’s feelings on the matter had changed. Last year, Morgan called it a “difficult decision,” arguing that there are “those in our community who want to take us backwards and not forwards.” Whatever the reason, Morgan’s change of heart didn’t seem to bother Escambia voters. Morgan easily won a four-way Republican primary last August, taking 61 percent of the vote, and made it official in November with a general election win over two minor candidates.
Morgan was sworn in Tuesday morning by Circuit Court Judge Kerra Smith in a ceremony at the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office headquarters.
“Law enforcement is much-maligned today throughout out country,” Morgan said in remarks after he was sworn in. “Those are stated by very small people, by the way, who have a complete misunderstanding of what law enforcement is about.”
Morgan applauded the efforts of his rank-and-file deputies, calling the department “the finest sheriff’s office not only in the state of Florida but in the nation.”
The last Escambia sheriff to serve three full terms was R.L. Kendricks, who served from 1945 to 1957. Sheriff Bill Davis was elected to a third term in 1968, but was removed from office by Governor Reubin Askew in 1970 after being indicted by a grand jury on breaking and entering charges. Davis was later acquitted of the charges, but wasn’t reinstated, and the Florida Senate in 1974 found him guilty of malfeasance, neglect of duty and incompetence in office.