JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- It is coming up on two weeks since 57 community service officers were let go from the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office due to budget cuts for the upcoming year. The cutting of the CSO program saved an estimated $3.2 to $3.5 million dollars for the upcoming year.
So is that loss affecting the department?
The Director of Patrolling and Enforcement Micheal Edwards says losing those community service officers did have an impact on JSO. Those CSO's could handle traffic related calls that were less serious and that freed up patrol officers to handle the more serious calls for service. Now the traffic, DUI and patrol officers are handling more calls.
So far Director Edwards says they have been able to handle that extra workload without accruing any overtime, but losing 57 people is tough on the morale of a department.
"It was a difficult day for this agency and everyday those individuals are missed, because those individuals did not just handle traffic related calls, they did so much more for this agency," said Director Edwards.
The CSOs assisted with traffic control at the Jags games/special events and also filled in for school crossing guards when one called in sick.
"It is still early to see what the long-term ramifications will be, but that will be something I will continue to monitor on a monthly basis as well," said Director Edwards.
Director Edwards says other law enforcement agencies in Florida have reached out to JSO about and the community service officers that were let go.
"I feel very confident that these community service officers, if they have the desire to continue law enforcement, that they will be able to find a job somewhere in the state of Florida," said Director Edwards.
Also, he added that JSO was able to hire five of the former community service officers back to JSO to fill existing vacant positions. Two in the Communications Center, two in the ID and Records section and one as a court officer.
First Coast News