By Greg Fink
A crowed of nearly 300 people crammed into the Washington High School cafeteria to attend Monday’s Escambia County Sheriff Debate. Sponsored by the Escambia Republican Executive Committee, incumbent sheriff, David Morgan, and challenger, John Powell, both started the forum telling attendees about their respective backgrounds as well as their love for the Pensacola and the Escambia County communities.
However, after the introductions, the gloves came off.
When speaking on lowering the crime rate, Morgan began by quoting current statistics.
“Crime has decreased during my time as sheriff in the area that we have control over,” Morgan said.
During the debate, Morgan addressed Powell’s efficacy when he was a police chief in three different communities.
“While being a police chief, Powell hired more individuals with increasing budgets while at the same time having high crime in those small rural communities,” Morgan said.
Not to be outdone, Powell retorted and said, “I did not have budget increases while I was a police chief and furthermore, we can’t control everything that affects the crime statistics.”
One attendee said that it was a shame the two individuals resorted to personal attacks instead of focusing on the issues.
“I think it is sad that there is such venom in a race that should be run solely on the issues for the safety of the community,” stated Scott Miller, local political consultant.
With the forum lasting under an hour, it was a telltale sign that this race will be anything but boring.