Jacksonville city councilman Garrett Dennis says he was curious about the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office 180 new positions, as well.
“We asked the undersheriff that but he said they are filling them but they haven’t reached that level yet,” Dennis said. He represents parts of northwest Jacksonville and serves on the city council’s finance committee. “We didn’t want to be in the posture of not giving the Sheriff what he needed to fight crime. But there is a doubt in our mind that he could not hire the police officers and get them trained enough.”
Dennis was even more surprised that JSO hasn’t been able to tell First Coast News how many of the new 180 positions have been filled. A JSO spokesperson told First Coast News there is no timetable on when our public records request would be filled.
“They cut checks every two weeks so they know who they are paying. They know how many checks they are cutting so they should be able to give you the number. That is troubling,” Dennis said.
Funding an additional 180 officers isn’t cheap. According to JoinJSO.com, while going to the Academy, Police Recruits receive a starting salary of $38,592 annually. After graduation and while in the Field Training Program, new Police Officers start at $40,622. An officer’s salary tops out at $66,528 annually. Police Sergeants earn 17.5% above an officer’s pay, ranging from $62,808 to $78,180 annually. Police Lieutenants earn 17.5% above a Sergeant’s salary, ranging from $80,412 to $91,848 annually.
Dennis says more prevention and intervention techniques are needed, combined with having more officers on the streets.
“I support our police officers. But again, we can’t police our way out of this crime epidemic we are having in this city,” Dennis said.