Tallahassee, FL—Ask current appointed Leon County Sheriff Mike Wood anything about his late boss, the late Leon County Sheriff Larry Campbell, and more than likely he will give all positive answers. Surprised? Of course not. In the months (if not years) prior to Sheriff Larry Campbell’s death, Sheriff Campbell pre-planned for Sergeant Mike Wood to be his Undersheriff. In June 2014, Sergeant Mike Wood had retired from the Leon County Sheriff’s Office after finishing the Deferred Retirement Option Program also known as D.R.O.P. The D.R.O.P. program is a state retirement program that some people criticize because it gives certain government officials the opportunity to receive six-figure salaries during their retirement and then return to work after six months and earn a regular paycheck on top of their retirement. On December 24, 2014, media reports stated that Leon County Sheriff Larry Campbell died of Cancer. Following Sheriff Campbell’s death, Governor Rick Scott first appointed Captain Robert Swearingen as Leon County Sheriff. Just as Captain Swearingen began to enjoy his newly appointed job position, Governor Scott turned and appointed Mike Wood, who was retired, as Leon County Sheriff.
Sheriff Larry Campbell, who was also a beneficiary of the D.R.O.P. program, had been battling Cancer for some time. Sheriff Larry Campbell’s possible obsession with ensuring that Mike Wood return as his Undersheriff, may have led up to the chaotic incident that led up to Leon County Sheriff Deputy Chris Smith’s assassination by a deranged gunman in November 2014. In spite of Leon County Sheriff’s Sergeant Wiley Meggs’ admission of red flagging the gunman’s residence as having threatened to shoot law enforcement officers and first responders if they were to come on or near his home, it’s the Leon County Sheriff’s Office that is more to blame than the dispatch service. The gunman lived in a busy subdivision, far from some backwoods off-road parcel of land. The gunman’s home was located a few blocks away from one of Tallahassee’s busiest public elementary schools. Leon County Sheriff’s Sergeant Wiley Meggs should’ve escalated the man’s threats to the highest officials. Tallahassee Fire & Rescue were not aware of the deranged man’s threats. Leon County Deputy Chris Smith and Deputy Colin Wulfekuhl unknowingly drove into a “Kill Zone.”
Where was Leon County Sheriff Larry Campbell when his deputies were being shot down in the streets like wild animals?
The gunfire ambush of Leon County Sheriff’s Deputy Chris Smith and Leon County Sheriff’s Deputy Colin Wulfekuhl could have been prevented. Instead of the Leon County Sheriff’s Office admitting that they fell short in their communications process, Sergeant Wiley Meggs, the son of 2nd Judicial Circuit State Attorney Willie Meggs, blamed the dispatch service. State Attorney Willie Meggs, who is in charge of prosecuting criminal cases in Leon County, was all onboard for blaming dispatch workers and not show a shred of blame toward his son, Sergeant Wiley Meggs. While it was natural for fathers to protect their sons and vice-versa (sons to protect their dads), it was not natural for a county sheriff to be absent for over 24 hours following a gunfire ambush of his deputies and Tallahassee first responders.
Leon County Sheriff Larry Campbell did not speak publicly or hold a press conference until over twenty-four hours after Deputy Chris Smith and Leon County Deputy Colin Wulfekuhl’s blood poured out onto the Leon County street that they faithfully patrolled. When Leon County Sheriff Larry Campbell finally appeared in front of news camera, Sheriff Larry Campbell’s appearance was frail and his speech was slurred. Sheriff Campbell looked like someone had dressed him—attempted to clean him up for the cameras. If in fact Sheriff Larry Campbell’s health was failing and he could no longer perform his duties as sheriff effectively due to either his failing health or the side effects of the medication he was consuming to treat his Cancer diagnosis, then Sheriff Larry Campbell should’ve been more thoughtful and put the safety of his deputies and the citizens of Leon County above all else and stepped down as sheriff. The citizens of Leon County elected Larry Campbell to immediately protect and serve them. Not to pretend to protect them and then speak to them at his convenience. Deputy Chris Smith was murdered because Leon County Sheriff Larry Campbell was selfish and would do anything and everything to have it his way—even if it meant putting his deputies and the citizens of Leon County at risk of becoming victims of crime.
Many people in the community (in the Black community) have distaste for Leon County Sheriff Larry Campbell. Sheriff Larry Campbell’s repeat election winnings only symbolize the fear and the intimidation that many people in Leon County truly felt for more than fifty years. Although Sheriff Larry Campbell was the active sheriff for less than twenty years, Larry Campbell had been involved in the local law enforcement arena for more than thirty years. Second State Attorney Willie Meggs’ son, Wiley Meggs and Wiley Megg’s wife, worked as deputies for Leon County Sheriff Larry Campbell. Sheriff Larry Campbell’s son, Jack Campbell, works for State Attorney Willie Meggs as an Assistant State Attorney/Prosecutor. For far too many years Tallahassee’s Judicial System has been run by these “crime families.” State Attorney Willie Meggs has six counties all located in the Florida panhandle under his jurisdiction. State Attorney Willie Meggs repeatedly (if not exclusively) looked over his forty plus Assistant State Attorneys only to appoint Assistant State Attorney Jack Campbell to prosecute criminal case in that his dad, Leon County Sheriff Larry Campbell, held investigative jurisdiction and manned the jailhouse where defendants were housed until their trial. Assistant State Attorney Jack Campbell would get judges to sign frivolous search warrants, probable cause reports and arrest warrants. Leon County Sheriff Larry Campbell and his son, Assistant State Attorney Jack Campbell, along with State Attorney Willie Meggs filed documents containing false information with the courts. In some cases, Leon County Sheriff Larry Campbell and Assistant State Attorney Jack Campbell recruited a wealthy friend by the name of Don Odham to act as a Leon County Sheriff’s Detective. Don Odham’s actions on several criminal cases denied justice to many families and caused many deputies to commit perjury to cover up for Sheriff Campbell and Assistant State Attorney Jack Campbell’s criminal acts.
In 2011, a team of veteran detectives with the Leon County Sheriff’s Office began investigating the double murder of a sister and brother in southwest Tallahassee, seeking to connect 17-year-old, Tallahassee Community College student, DeShon Thomas to the double murders. When their investigation began to turn away from DeShon Thomas, as being the murderer, Leon County Sheriff Larry Campbell positioned his wealthy friend, Don Odham, as lead detective. Leon County Sheriff Larry Campbell replaced the team of veteran detectives with Don Odham. Veteran detectives stated that “Detective” Don Odham was not truthful in his reports and was a “Disgrace to the badge.” Leon County Sheriff Larry Campbell replacing a team of veteran detectives with a non-deputy, a non-detective, a non-member of the law enforcement family had to be demoralizing to those veteran detectives/deputies who have worked so hard and are committed to their badge and the community that they serve.
Former Leon County Sheriff’s Deputy David Graham had received Deputy of the Year award in 2011, for his outstanding and impressive accomplishments over the span of his career. In 2012, Leon County Sheriff Larry Campbell filed numerous criminal charges against Deputy David Graham. It was stated by a source that shortly before Leon County Sheriff Larry Campbell filed charges against Deputy David Graham, Sheriff Larry Campbell learned that Deputy David Graham had authored several anonymous letters that had been emailed to a Tallahassee blogger exposing corruption, racism, unethical and unlawful practices directly in Sheriff Larry Campbell’s office. Following the criminal charges, Deputy David Graham was fired from the Leon County Sheriff’s Office. Not long thereafter, David Graham’s wife was also charged with crimes. David Graham was exonerated at trial. His wife did not go to trial.
Several Tallahassee families have become victims after Leon County Sheriff Larry Campbell allowed his wealthy friend, Don Odham, to act as a Leon County Sheriff’s Crime Scene Detective and Lead Homicide Detective. Sheriff Larry Campbell’s deception to families of crimes only tainted families’ chances for justice. In some cases criminal charges were not filed and in other cases defendants were wrongly convicted. Leon County Sheriff’s Office Internal Affairs Director Captain Todd McKissack, has yet to respond to complaints that he’d received in regards to several deputies who committed perjury and smuggled contraband into the Leon County Jail. It was not unusual or impossible for Sheriff Larry Campbell and his son, Assistant State Attorney/Prosecutor Jack Campbell to run the Leon County Jail like it was their own residence.
Many Leon County citizens have stated that Leon County Sheriff Larry Campbell refused to hold deputies accountable after they were accused of Domestic Violence. Seemingly, deputies beating their wife or girlfriend were acceptable at the Leon County Sheriff’s Office. Seemingly, Leon County Sheriff Larry Campbell kept those whom he knew owed him dearly close by his side. Which takes us back to Sergeant Mike Wood.
The Leon County Sheriff’s Office is where Sergeant Mike Wood started his career over thirty something years ago. Prior to becoming a Leon County Sheriff’s Deputy, Mike Wood had gotten busted for drugs. Not very many people who get busted for drugs can go on to have a career in law enforcement and then earn six-figures in retirement and six-figure in a paycheck all at the same time. Let alone get appointed to be sheriff by the governor. Sheriff Mike Wood owes Leon County Sheriff Larry Campbell, dearly. If Mike Wood is the “Best Man” to replace Leon County Sheriff Larry Campbell as sheriff, then what does that say about all of the other deputies—including those that were on Leon County Sheriff Larry Campbell’s Command Staff?
Would the citizens of Tallahassee be better off if Governor Scott had appointed his former general counsel, Pete Antonacci, as Sheriff Campbell’s replacement? (Any man that can walk into the office of a thirty-two year career law enforcement official (“former FDLE Top Cop Commissioner Gerald Bailey”), and verbally instruct Commissioner Bailey to resign—without any supporting documentation bearing a rubber stamp signature on it—must be “Top Cop” worthy in Governor Scott’s eyes.)
Sheriff Larry Campbell severely deceived the citizens of Leon County—Tallahassee citizens. Leon County Sheriff Larry Campbell is a CRIMINAL. Any building, statute, street, pothole or garbage landfill named after the late Leon County Sheriff Larry Campbell will only remind the citizens of Leon County—the citizens of Tallahassee—of a time when fear, corruption, racism, intimidation and deception plagued the Leon County Sheriff’s Office and Tallahassee communities.
History will show that Sheriff Larry Campbell was nothing more than a total “Disgrace” to the badge of law enforcement officials and a “Disgrace” to the community of Leon County.
The people of Charleston, South Carolina and many cities and states across the south have significantly rid their communities of Confederate Flags. It’s just a matter of time before the people of Florida—particularly those in Tallahassee—will rid their communities of people like the late Sheriff Larry Campbell, his son, Assistant State Attorney Jack Campbell, 2nd Judicial Circuit State Attorney Willie Meggs, 2nd Circuit Judge Jackie Fulford and everyone else whose unlawful acts hinder Floridians from moving forward in culture, peace, love and prosperity forever.