Ron McNesby

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H. R. "Ron" McNesby
Born May 22, 1944
Occupation Law enforcement officer
Former Escambia County Sheriff
Spouse Nellie McNesby
Children Ron McNesby Jr., Misti

Harry Ronald "Ron" McNesby (nicknamed Ronnie Mac) is a former Escambia County Sheriff. He was first elected in 2000 and again in 2004.

McNesby lost his bid for re-election for a third term in the Republican primary election held August 26, 2008.

Personal life[edit]

McNesby was born May 22, 1944 in Pensacola. Before joining the Escambia County Sheriff's Office, he attended Pensacola Junior College and Troy State University.[1] He currently lives in North Pensacola with his wife Nellie. They have two grown children.


McNesby joined the Escambia County Sheriff's Office on October 5, 1965. He ran for Sheriff in 1980 but was unsuccessful.[2]


  • Martin Luther King Civil Rights Award, Good Schools for All, 2002
  • Guard and Reserve Employer of the Year, Pensacola Chamber of Commerce, 2002


During his tenure, McNesby and the Sheriff's Office have faced a number of controversies.

Taser abuse & jail deaths[edit]

Critics claim that fifteen inmates have died in the Escambia County Jail since McNesby was elected in 2000 (though only twelve since he took office in January 2001) and accuse the sheriff of fostering an atmosphere of abuse. Two of the deceased inmates, Robert Boggon and Jerry Preyer, were known to be mentally ill at the time of their detention. Both men were shot multiple times with a Taser and physically restrained shortly before their deaths.

In an April 6, 2007 viewpoint for the Pensacola News Journal, McNesby defended his administration, citing the jail's accreditation in security operations and health care: "Less than 1 percent of the 3,600 jails in America can claim they are accredited in security and health care. Escambia is among that small, select group because of the caring professionals who go to work everyday in a place most Americans would never consider as a profession. The demonstrated commitment of my detention deputies and detention staff to improved jail conditions has resulted in my appointment to the Florida Corrections Accreditation Commission."[3]

Other incidents of taser abuse:

  • Michael J. Montgomery received a $62,500 settlement from the ECSO for being shot with a Taser. Montgomery had been visiting a friend's apartment complex and was shot by Deputy James Sullivan (who "had a smile on his face" at the time) after commenting that the deputies were using unnecessary force in making an arrest.
  • On June 19, 2004, Deputy Shedrick Cleon Johnston, Sr. used a Taser to shoot Harold Bernard Fountain in the face, blinding Fountain's left eye. The State's Attorney's Office announced the Taser use was justified on June 30, 2006.
  • Deputy Charles Dix shot Martha Bledsoe with a Taser five times in a Wal-Mart parking lot on February 3, 2004. He was suspended for 30 days and in 2007 was ordered to pay a $3,000 fine and sentenced to five years probation. The Sheriff's Office paid Bledsoe a $250,000 settlement.
  • Deputy Dix also used a Taser to shoot Chad Baxter four times in a motel parking lot when Baxter was comforting his wife following a traffic accident. Dix did not face criminal charges in that incident, but the Sheriff's Office paid a $150,000 settlement to Baxter.

Abuse of power at Arety's Angels[edit]

In early 2004, Arety Sievers, owner of Fairfield Drive strip club Arety's Angels, publicly accused McNesby of trying to pressure her into forgiving nearly $6,000 in charges by Matthew Touart made to credit cards he stole from his father, Escambia County Administrator George Touart.

"It was just an act of bullying and intimidation, plain and simple," said Sievers.[4]

On June 10, 2004, a grand jury found that McNesby had called Sievers, but that the action was neither improper nor unlawful.[5]

Sale of mobile trailers[edit]

In the summer of 2003, the Sheriff's Office sold a number of trailers to Don Livingston of Communication Engineering Service for $3,100. The trailers had been purchased four years earlier to house work-release inmates at a cost of $134,000. Livingston later sold the trailers to Joe Doyle, one of McNesby's political contributors. McNesby was cleared of wrongdoing on June 2, 2004.[5]

Grand jury conflict of interest[edit]

After a grand jury cleared McNesby in June 2006 of the Arety's Angels and mobile trailer allegations, a story by WEAR revealed that the wife of one of the grand jurors was employed by McNesby.

A two-page statement from the 21-member jury indicated that, "in an abundance of caution," the juror disclosed the relationship to McNesby and sat out deliberations involving him. It added, "To imply that one person could exert such an influence over the other 20 of us demonstrates an ignorance of the process, diminishes us all and casts doubt upon the entire grand jury system."[6]


  2. Sheriff McNesby reflects on 43-year career - Pensacola News Journal, January 3, 2009
  3. Escambia County Jail is doing its job - Pensacola News Journal, April 6, 2007
  4. 2 grand jury inquiries set in Escambia - St. Petersburg Times, March 27, 2004
  5. 5.0 5.1 Teflon Ron - Independent News, June 18, 2004
  6. Nice Watchdog - Independent News, June 25, 2004

Preceded by:
Jim Lowman
Escambia County Sheriff
Succeeded by:
David Morgan