Jax police: doing less, costing more?

We fully support law enforcement in Jacksonville but when things don’t look right Eye on Jacksonville will point it out.

Here is an example:

Sheriff T.K. Waters has asked for more police officers next year and Mayor Donna Deegan is providing them in her proposed $3.9 billion budget, belying the pre-election accusation that she would defund the police.

But are more cops needed?

It is hard to justify from looking at a few key numbers — numbers that were produced by the police, for the most part.

Over a seven-year period 2016-2022, the number of police officers increased 10 percent.

At the same time, the number of calls for service dropped 5 percent, and the crime rate was on a steady downward trend. The number of arrests fell by 25 percent.

During that period the budget for the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office increased by 17 percent and if Deegan’s budget is adopted it would be up by 36 percent since 2016.

Police and fire protection are the largest items in the city’s general fund budget.

We asked the police public information officers about these apparently conflicting facts but have not gotten a response. Waters did not return a call.

Eye did notice a disturbing trend while analyzing the numbers. More and more suspects are resisting arrest, often with violence. The number of such incidents rose from 384 to 710 during the seven-year period. While this is not related to manpower needs, it shows an increased disrespect for law and order that is appalling.

Eye encourages the City Council in its review of the budget to look closely at the workload and work product of the police and ensure that more officers are needed before funding them.

Lloyd Brown

Lloyd was born in Jacksonville. Graduated from the University of North Florida. He spent nearly 50 years of his life in the newspaper business …beginning as a copy boy and retiring as editorial page editor for Florida Times Union. He has also been published in a number of national newspapers and magazines, as well as Internet sites. Married with children. Military Vet. Retired. Man of few words but the words are researched well, deeply considered and thoughtfully written.


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