FDLE investigating Alachua, Baker County Sheriff’s Offices
Image via Fresh Take Florida.

Florida Department of Law Enforcement FDLE
'Let me go on record stating this is a POLITICAL STRATEGY to not only divide our BCSO family, but to also bring negative attention to our county.'

State investigators are probing the Alachua and Baker Sheriff’s Offices, but the reasons are unknown.

Two executive orders issued by Gov. Ron DeSantis revealed the ongoing investigations by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) but shed little light on their purpose.

The orders reassigned the investigations from Brian Kramer, State Attorney for the Eighth Circuit Judicial Circuit, which covers Alachua and Baker counties, to other State Attorneys. That was prompted by Kramer declaring a conflict of interest over the probes due to his endorsement of Alachua Sheriff Emery Gainey and Baker Sheriff Scotty Rhoden.

In the orders last week, DeSantis assigned the Alachua investigation to John Durrett, State Attorney for the Third Judicial Circuit, which covers seven rural counties in the Panhandle. The Governor gave the Baker investigation to Melissa Nelson, State Attorney for the Fourth Judicial Circuit, which covers Clay, Duval and Nassau counties.

Requests for comment from FDLE and DeSantis’ Office weren’t immediately returned Monday morning.

Gainey was appointed by DeSantis to be Alachua County Sheriff on Oct. 1, replacing Clovis Watson, who resigned citing health concerns. Watson is a Democrat who previously served in the House, but he was rebuked by a Judge in May 2023 who found he violated the rights of three deputies who were under investigation. Gainey is a Republican who declared his intention to run to keep his new job last year shortly after taking the position.

Rhoden was first elected Baker Sheriff in 2016. In a letter to his employees posted on Facebook, he criticized the investigation but encouraged deputies to work with FDLE while it unfolds.

“Let me go on record stating this is a POLITICAL STRATEGY to not only divide our BCSO family, but to also bring negative attention to our county,” Rhoden wrote. “We all know that in Baker County we are family, and we always work together to support one another to ensure all of our county operations put the people of our community first.”

Gray Rohrer


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