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Thursday, June 13, 2024

Jail employee suspended for ironic transgression

An Alachua County Jail employee who oversees substance abuse classes and Alcoholics Anonymous meeting was superseded for entering the jail impaired.

Art Forgey, Alachua County Sheriff’s Office spokesman, confirmed that Eugene Morris, bureau chief for Inmate Programs, was given two days suspension without pay but declined to comment on the incident.

Morris, who has worked for ASO for two-and-a-half years, appeared impaired when he entered the jail on June 13 — a day he had off, according to an administrative investigation report.

Sgt. Kimberly Calvin, the shift commander on June 13, said Morris was slurring his speech and staggering as he walked.

Calvin said she noticed the smell of alcohol coming from Morris as she stood about five to six feet from him, according to the report.

Calvin drove Morris home in his car and instructed him not to drive anymore that day. Although she confirmed his home was just a “little distance” from the jail, she said his decision showed poor judgment because he could have harmed himself or taken someone else’s life by driving under the influence.

Officer James Lemmon was on lobby duty on June 13 and saw Morris exit his car and walk to the building.

“He was swaying from side to side, staggering with a heavy appearance of intoxication,” Lemmon said in the report. “I can’t prove it because I never did any kind of test or anything like that.”

Morris said he had two drinks while at home, two hours before he arrived at the jail, in an interview with inspectors Karen Love and Ray Swallows on Aug. 4. He could not recall what he had been drinking.

“I think it’s safe to say that I may have been impaired,” he said. “I don’t believe I was inebriated, but I may have been impaired.”

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