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City Council could get 45 police officers back in uniform

8:14 AM, Jan 18, 2013   |    comments
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- More police officers on the streets.

President Obama says it's one of the keys to curbing gun violence, and it may happen sooner than we think in Jacksonville.

Proposed legislation in City Council would clear the way for 45 laid off police officers to get back in uniform.

That's welcome news for people in Jacksonville's northwest neighborhood where there have been three murders in the first three weeks of 2013.

"We shouldn't live scared," said Rosano Klark of Jacksonville.

The makeshift memorials are a constant reminder for Klark of the gun violence in his mother-in-law's neighborhood.

Flowers and balloons fill a corner just steps from her home where a young teen was gunned down.

"You want your kids, your grand kids, to be able to go home and feel safe," he said.

Klark said he would feel better if more JSO officers were back on the street.

A new bill proposed by City Council would help the police department get there.

The legislation clears the way for 45 officers who were laid off by the department to be rehired.

If passed by the council, it would allow laid off police officers who live outside of Duval County to rejoin the force.

Lark thinks it would send a positive message to the community.

"You can't get away with doing mayhem, not in this city, because JSO will get you," he said.

Sheriff John Rutherford has been pushing to get the officers back on the force since November.

Budget cuts had forced him to lay off Community Service Officers, Corrections Officers, and Police Officers.

Klark said the cuts have hurt the city.

"We should be able to go anywhere at any time and not be fearful in our own backyard. When it comes to that point, something is very wrong with that picture," he said.

JSO laid officers off in 2011 and 2012.

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