Friends, officers, and dignitaries gathered Monday morning at the Jackson County Jail in Marianna for the official naming and dedication of the dining area at the facility. The facility is now the Lieutenant Morris Ray Pope Dining Hall.
According to the overwhelming suggestions offered by staff at the jail, the choice was simple – Lieutenant Morris Ray Pope. Pope was admired and respected by all who worked with him throughout his time at the facility.
After working at Lehigh Furniture, Pope knew what he wanted to do with his life. So, Pope returned to college 12 years after graduation from Cottondale High School at what was ‘then’ Chipola Jr. College where he graduated from the Academy of Criminal Justice with an accredited 340 hours. He began work for Sheriff John McDaniel in the 1980s and quickly moved to the rank of sergeant. In September of 1986, Pope was moved to be under the direction of the Jackson County Board of County Commissioners. He was moved to the new jail after construction was completed and earned the rank of lieutenant. According to those who knew him, his passion for his career took him through many jail administrators. Above all, he always remained an officer and a gentleman. He earned the respect of staff and inmates as well, creating a legacy deeply rooted in the passion and love for his career. A close and professional relationship developed between he and Judge Woodrow Hatcher and the entire judicial system staff during that time. He considered correctional officer Fred Torbett his third son. They became very close and went beyond the relationship of supervisor and employee. Many correctional officers and law enforcement made very special bonds that can be shared through their encounters with Lt. Pope.
He served in the U.S. Army receiving an honorable discharge. Then he continued serving many years in the Florida National Guard with the 144th Transportation under the leadership of Sgt. Max Thomas. He earned the rank of SP5 and was deployed in Operation Desert Storm. During his military and correctional careers he earned many awards and recognitions of achievements, far too many to name.