Escambia County, Florida
|Escambia County, Florida|
Escambia County Courthouse
Location in the state of Florida
Florida's location in the U.S.
|Founded||July 21, 1821|
|Named for||Escambia River|
|• Total||875.57 sq mi (2,268 km2)|
|• Land||662.35 sq mi (1,715 km2)|
|• Water||213.21 sq mi (552 km2), 24.35%|
|• Density||449/sq mi (173.53/km²)|
|Time zone||Central: UTC-6/-5|
- 1 History
- 2 Geography
- 3 Demographics
- 4 Government
- 5 Local media
- 6 Cities and towns
- 7 Public Transportation
- 8 Politics
- 9 Library
- 10 See also
- 11 References
- 12 Sources incorporated into this article
- 13 External links
Escambia County was created by European Americans on July 21, 1821. It was named for the Escambia River. The name "Escambia" may be derived from the Creek name Shambia, meaning "clearwater", or the Choctaw word for "cane-brake" or "reed-brake".
Created on the same date, Escambia and St. Johns counties were Florida's two original counties. The Suwanee River was the border between them,  which follows a winding path from the northern border of the state to the Gulf of Mexico. Essentially, the Escambia county government had jurisdiction over the "panhandle" and "big bend" areas and St. Johns over the remainder of the entire state. 21 Counties were created from Escambia county directly or indirectly. They include Jackson (1821), Gadsden (created from Jackson)(1823), Leon (1824), Walton (1824), Washington (created from Jackson and Walton)(1825), Hamilton (1827), Jefferson (1827), Madison (created from Jefferson) (1827), Franklin (1832), Calhoun (1838), Santa Rosa (1842), Wakulla (created from Leon) (1843), Holmes (created from Jackson and Walton) (1848), Liberty (created from Gadsden) (1855), Lafayette and Taylor (created from Madison) (1856), Bay (created from Washington) (1913), Okaloosa (created from Santa Rosa and Walton) (1915), Dixie (created from Lafayette) (1921), and Gulf (created from Calhoun) (1925). The area over which the county government would have jurisdiction has decreased with the creation of many other counties in Florida, which number sixty-seven in 2013.
According to the 2000 census, the county has a total area of 875.57 square miles (2,267.7 km2), of which 662.35 square miles (1,715.5 km2) (or 75.65%) is land and 213.21 square miles (552.2 km2) (or 24.35%) is water.
Escambia County is part of the Pensacola-Ferry Pass-Brent Metropolitan Statistical Area.
Escambia County in Florida and Escambia County in Alabama are two of 22 counties or parishes in the United States with the same name to border each other across state lines. The others are Union Parish, Louisiana and Union County, Arkansas, Big Horn County, Montana and Big Horn County, Wyoming, Sabine County, Texas and Sabine Parish, Louisiana, Bristol County, Massachusetts and Bristol County, Rhode Island, Kent County, Delaware and Kent County, Maryland, Pike County, Illinois and Pike County, Missouri, Teton County, Idaho and Teton County, Wyoming, Park County, Montana and Park County, Wyoming, San Juan County, New Mexico and San Juan County, Utah, and Vermilion County, Illinois and Vermillion County, Indiana. respectively.
National protected areas
As of the census of 2010, there were 297,619 people, 116,238 households, and 74,040 families residing in the county. The population density was 449 people per square mile (174/km²). There were 136,703 housing units at an average density of 206 per square mile (80/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 68.9% White, 22.9% Black or African American, 0.9% Native American, 2.7% Asian, 0.1% Pacific Islander, 1.3% from other races, and 3.2% from two or more races. 4.7% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There were 116,238 households out of which 25.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 42.5% were married couples living together, 4.8% had a male householder with no wife present, 16.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 36.3% were non-families. 28.9% of all households were made up of individuals and 10.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.41 and the average family size was 2.96.
In the county the population was spread out with 21.6% under the age of 18, 13.0% from 18 to 24, 24.2% from 25 to 44, 26.8% from 45 to 64, and 14.4% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 35 years. For every 100 females there were 98.60 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 97.10 males.
The median income for a household in the county was $43,707, and the median income for a family was $54,543. Males had a median income of $38,878 versus $30,868 for females. The per capita income for the county was $23,773. About 12.7% of families and 16.9% of the population were below the poverty line, including 26.4% of those under age 18 and 9.2% of those age 65 or over.
As of the census of 2000, there were 294,410 people, 111,049 households, and 74,180 families residing in the county. The population density was 444 people per square mile (172/km²). There were 124,647 housing units at an average density of 188 per square mile (73/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 72.35% White, 21.40% Black or African American, 0.90% Native American, 2.21% Asian, 0.12% Pacific Islander, 0.85% from other races, and 2.16% from two or more races. 2.70% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There were 111,049 households out of which 29.90% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 47.80% were married couples living together, 15.10% had a female householder with no husband present, and 33.20% were non-families. 26.90% of all households were made up of individuals and 9.70% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.45 and the average family size was 2.98.
In the county the population was spread out with 23.50% under the age of 18, 12.20% from 18 to 24, 29.00% from 25 to 44, 22.00% from 45 to 64, and 13.30% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 35 years. For every 100 females there were 98.60 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 97.10 males.
The median income for a household in the county was $35,234, and the median income for a family was $41,708. Males had a median income of $31,054 versus $22,023 for females. The per capita income for the county was $18,641. About 12.10% of families and 15.40% of the population were below the poverty line, including 23.70% of those under age 18 and 9.60% of those age 65 or over.
Escambia County government is led by a five-member Board of County Commissioners, each commissioner representing one of five districts. The county commission appoints a county administrator as chief administrative officer of the county.
Escambia County is divided into five districts. One county commissioner is elected from each district to serve a four-year term. Commissioners are chosen in partisan elections by voters from the districts in which they live. The board appoints a county administrator to be chief administrative officer of the county, responsible to the commission for the orderly operations of matters within the board’s jurisdiction. The current office holders are,
- Escambia County Administrator : George Touart
- Escambia County District 1 : Wilson Robertson
- Escambia County District 2 : Gene M. Valentino
- Escambia County District 3 : Lumon May
- Escambia County District 4 : Grover C. Robinson IV
- Escambia County District 5 : Steven Barry
|This section is too long. Consider splitting it into new pages, adding subheadings, or condensing it. (January 2014)|
In 2011, the US Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division issued a letter detailing the findings of its investigation into conditions of confinement at Escambia County Jail, which houses roughly 1,300 prisoners. The department found that, although the jail under the leadership of Sheriff David Morgan had recently implemented a series of meaningful reforms, conditions at the jail still routinely violated the constitutional rights of prisoners.
Specifically, the department concluded that known systemic deficiencies at the facility, stemming mainly from staffing shortages, subjected prisoners to excessive risk of assault by other prisoners and to inadequate mental health care. Additionally, the department found that until recently, the jail had an informal policy and practice of designating some of its housing units as only for African-American prisoners. According to the Department of Justice, this race-based segregation not only stigmatized and discriminated against many of its African-American prisoners, it also fanned combustible racial tensions within the jail. Between April 2012 and March 2013, the prison recorded 176 inmate-on-inmate assaults, including 20 serious head wounds.
The investigation released a letter of findings that determined the following:
- Prisoner-on-prisoner assaults are a common occurrence at the Jail, making the Facility unsafe for prisoners. Assaults occur routinely primarily because of a shortage of correctional staff. The Facility needs more staff to patrol Jail pods, intervene when altercations or fights break out, and search cells for dangerous items that could be used as weapons against fellow prisoners;
- A staffing study released in March 2011 commissioned by County leadership has given Jail leadership good reason to know that staffing shortages pose a significant risk to prisoner safety. Among other findings, the study concluded that: the Jail "is operating with only about three-forths of its needed staff; that "the Jail has been understaffed for many years;" that "[d]eputies ... are routinely borrowed from other jobs which results in leaving their posts unmanned;" that "[t]he frequency of some important operations, such as cell searches, is reduced due to lack of staff to conduct the searches;" that "[p]osts are understaffed or not staffed at all;" and that, "[l]arge insufficiencies in jail staffing ... raise the likelihood that something serious could happen that would overwhelm the jail's ability to respond;"
- The Jail's leadership fails to appropriately monitor and track prisoner-an-prisoner violence and staff-an-prisoner uses of force;
- The Jail's decades-long practice of housing some prisoners in housing units designated as only for black prisoners ("black-only pods") discriminates against African-Americans on the basis of their race, contributes to prisoner perceptions that the Jail favors white prisoners over black prisoners, and makes the Facility less safe by fanning racial tensions between prisoners;
- The Jail does not afford prisoners timely and adequate access to appropriately skilled mental health care professionals;
- The Jail routinely fails to provide appropriate medications to prisoners with mental illness;
- The Jail provides inadequate housing and observation for prisoners with serious mental illness and/or at risk of self-injury, including suicide; and
- On average, the Jail sends roughly one prisoner per month to the hospital after an incident of self-injury, a rate our expert found indicative of a clearly inadequate mental health program.
These factual determinations provided the Department of Justice with reasonable cause to believe that Escambia County Jail's practices violated the Fourteenth Amendment's due process protections for pre-trial detainees, as well as the Eighth Amendment's protections for those convicted of a criminal offense. Those amendments prohibit jail officials from showing deliberate indifference to conditions of confinement posing an excessive risk of harm to prisoners.
Roy L. Austin Jr., Deputy Assistant Attorney General of the Civil Rights Division, commended Sheriff Morgan for his willingness to remedy problems identified during the course of the investigation. The department conducted this investigation pursuant to its authority under the Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act (CRIPA) to enforce constitutional mandates. The department’s investigation was broad based and included a review of practices relating to the level of security at the jail, the adequacy of medical and mental health services, and sanitation/environmental conditions.
The investigation was conducted by Special Litigation Counsel Avner Shapiro and Senior Trial Attorney David Deutsch of the Civil Rights Division’s Special Litigation Section. The findings letter is available on the Department’s website.
The largest daily print newspaper in the area is the Pensacola News Journal. There is a weekly print newspaper called The Independent News. There also is an online-only newspaper called NorthEscambia.com that serves entire county while concentrating on the northern half of the county.
One major network broadcasts from Pensacola, ABC affiliate WEAR. Several major networks are broadcast from nearby Mobile, such as CBS affiliate WKRG, NBC affiliate WPMI-TV, and Fox affiliate WALA. The following is a list of broadcast television stations in the Mobile, Alabama – Pensacola – Fort Walton Beach, Florida market. Cox Communications provides cable television service within the county, and television advertising through its subsidiary, Cox Media .
Cities and towns
- Barrineau Park
- Ferry Pass
- Innerarity Point
- Myrtle Grove
- Pensacola Beach
- Perdido Key
- Pleasant Grove
- Walnut Hill
- West Pensacola
Escambia County is a very conservative region. Before 1994, the area traditionally voted Democratic and sent Democrats to the House of Representatives and the state legislature until the incumbent Earl Hutto declined to run for reelection. In that year Republican Joe Scarborough was elected to the House of Representatives. The electorate has switched to voting Republican since 1994 electing Republicans to the House of Representatives by wide margins.
Voters of the county have not supported a Democratic presidential candidate since 1960. In 1972 George McGovern only won 20% of votes. Since 1988 voting has been heavily Republican in presidential elections.
Escambia County is served by the West Florida Regional Library System.
|This article needs additional citations for verification. (November 2006)|
- "State & County QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved February 12, 2014.
- "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07.
- Genealogy Inc. (1927-06-06). "Escambia County, Florida Genealogical Records Information". floridagenealogy101.com. Retrieved 2010-07-22.
- Escambia County Alabama History - accessed August 18, 2009
- Alabama Department of Archives and History - accessed August 18, 2009
- Today in Florida History!, July 21, 2012, www.myfloridahistory.org, Florida Historical Society, Cocoa, Florida
- "Census 2000 U.S. Gazetteer Files: Counties". United States Census. Retrieved 2011-02-13.
- "U.S. Decennial Census". Census.gov. Retrieved July 19, 2013.
- "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2012". Census.gov. Retrieved July 19, 2013.
- "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
- Department of Justice Office of Public Affairs (22 May 2013). "Justice Department Finds Unconstitutional Conditions of Confinement at Escambia County, Fla. Jail". United States Department of Justice.
- Roy L. Austin, Jr. (22 May 2013). "Findings Letter of Investigation of Escambia County Jail".
- (Nielsen DMA#59)
Sources incorporated into this article
This article incorporates public domain material from the United States Department of Justice document "Justice Department Finds Unconstitutional Conditions of Confinement at Escambia County, Fla.".
This article incorporates public domain material from the United States Department of Justice document "Findings Letter of Investigation of Escambia County Jail".
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