The Haves and the Have Nots: Florida Governor Rick Scott’s Criminal Sheriff Appointee, Leon County Sheriff Mike Wood, Has Twisted Priorities After Hurricane Hermine

Tallahassee, FL—Before Hurricane Hermine’s devastation struck the Big Bend area, in January 2015, Governor Rick Scott may have “Punked” interim Leon County Sheriff Robert Swearingen out of his position in order to appoint Mike Wood as Leon County Sheriff. Robert Swearingen, the twin brother of Rick Swearingen—Commissioner at the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, and cousin to Pamela Marsh, former U.S. Attorney of Florida’s Northern District had decades of experience.  The changing of Leon County Sheriff came following the December 24, 2014 death of longtime serving Leon County Sheriff Larry Campbell. In part, according to Tallahassee’s major newspaper, Tallahassee Democrat, after Larry Campbell’s death, Governor Scott “quickly appointed Maj. Robert Swearingen as interim sheriff.”–campbell-has-died/20878451/

In a January 8, 2015 interview (about two weeks after being appointed interim Leon County Sheriff), in regards to Governor Rick Scott appointing him as Interim Leon County Sheriff, Interim Leon County Sheriff Robert Swearingen told Tallahassee’s local news station WTXL, an ABC news affiliate, in part, “I was quite honored and very honored…”  Interim Leon County Sheriff Robert Swearingen, a native of Massachusetts, had been with the Leon County Sheriff’s Office for nearly decades—of that time Sheriff Larry Campbell was his boss for 16 years—up until Sheriff Campbell’s death. A month before and weeks thereafter Sheriff Larry Campbell’s death, Interim Leon County Sheriff Robert Swearingen took a lot of heat in regards to the “finger pointing” between the Leon County Sheriff’s Office and the Consolidated Dispatch Service after two Leon County Sheriff’s Deputies were ambushed by gunfire in November 2014 inside of what was supposed to have been identified as a “Hot Zone.”  As reported, the gunman, who lived in the neighborhood had previously threatened to harm Leon County Sheriff’s Deputies and first responders. Unfortunately, as reported Deputy Christopher Smith and Deputy Colin Wulfekuhl were not made aware of the “Hot Zone” and were struck by the gunfire.  Leon County Sheriff’s Deputy Christopher Smith died, leaving behind a wife and two children. Leon County Sheriff Larry Campbell was nowhere to be found—well, Sheriff Larry Campbell did not address the media until over 24 hours after the ambush. And when Sheriff Larry Campbell finally appeared, he looked pale and very frail—extremely ill. Possibly the dream of Sheriff Larry Campbell to die in office left the Leon County Sheriff’s position in limbo—clearly, the deputies’ being ambushed was due to a lack of communication–somewhere. Seventeen days after Interim Leon County Sheriff Robert Swearingen told WTXL about the future he’d planned for the more than 700 member agency (Leon County Sheriff’s Office), Governor Rick Scott announced the appointment of Michael Wood as “Undersheriff Michael Wood as Leon County Sheriff.”

Michael Wood was not an “Undersheriff,” at the Leon County Sheriff’s Office or anywhere else for that matter. In fact, months earlier, Michael Woods had retired from the Leon County Sheriff’s Office and was not on the Leon County Sheriff’s Office payroll at the time of Leon County Sheriff Larry Campbell’s death. After Sheriff Mike Wood’s special appointment by Governor Rick Scott, in an interview with the Tallahassee Democrat, while discussing his law enforcement experience, in part, Sheriff Wood does not claim to have ever held the position “Undersheriff with the Leon County Sheriff’s Office.”  Everyone, including Sheriff Larry Campbell’s wife, was aware that it was Sheriff Larry Campbell’s dream to name Mike Wood as undersheriff, but only after Mike Wood’s stayed retired as required by the D.R.O.P Program before being allowed to return to the Leon County Sheriff’s Office, which would’ve been in January 2015. But Sheriff Larry Campbell died on December 24, 2014. Simply put Governor Scott “Punked” Interim Leon County Sheriff Robert Swearingen out of his position as sheriff and replaced him with a civilian who has a criminal drug record.

Leon County Sheriff Mike Wood has decades of law enforcement experience—all with the Leon County Sheriff’s Office. After Hurricane Hermine wreaked devastation in Tallahassee, Leon County Sheriff Mike Wood’s priorities were very twisted. Sheriff Wood’s abuse against the citizens of Tallahassee is a replica of how Leon County Sheriff Larry Campbell operated during his longtime career—“Totally Disgusting.” As reported by Brian Burgess with The , “Leon County Sheriff Mike Wood Defends Personal Use of County Generators”

While thousands of people all across the Big Bend area were without power due to the aftermath of Hurricane Hermine, senior staff members with the Leon County Sheriff’s Office were allowed to use tax-payer funded portable power generators at their homes to comfort their families while hundreds of their own rank-in-file deputies along with thousands of taxpaying citizens—including the elderly, disabled and bed-stricken suffered without electricity. Disgusting!


Author: MAUL10

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