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First Coast officials address 'increasing' issue of violence against officers

Jacksonville Mayor-Elect, Donna Deegan was at the event and voiced her support for police and Jacksonville Sheriff T.K. Waters.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — It's been a violent few months for Jacksonville police officers. 

"Since I took office in November 2022 there has been three officers that have been shot in our community, one was brutally beaten, and one in October just before I took office," Jacksonville Sheriff, T.K. Waters, said.

"I want people to understand how reprehensible it is one and two we can't accept it we have to move forward we have to stop it we have to just be better citizens," Waters added. 

Waters, St. Johns County Sheriff, Robert Hardwick, State Attorney, Melissa Nelson, and several other law enforcement and City of Jacksonville officials gathered Wednesday at the Jacksonville Fraternal Order of Police to decry violence against police officers.

Jacksonville Mayor-elect Donna Deegan was also in attendance and stood right behind Waters. 

"I value our wonderful police officers and I value our beautiful community and I feel together we can have the difficult conversations that we need to have to make our entire community safer," Deegan said. 

Waters, who endorsed Deegan's opponent, Daniel Davis, called Deegan a radical in political ads during her campaign.

Waters said politics are over, and it's time to get to work.

"You know I'm doing this city a disservice, this county a disservice if I don't work with our mayor and [I'm] looking forward to it," Waters said.

Waters invited Deegan to the sheriff's office where the two met to discuss their working relationship, to help make Jacksonville safer.

"Right now, we patrol 850 square miles of the city when many other cities don't have that responsibility, so we need to fill those gaps that's a big start for us."

"They have the most dangerous job I can possibly imagine, and they deserve our respect, and they deserve to be protected," Deegan said. 

Waters shared he is hosting a town hall July 19 at the Prime Osborne Center to discuss his plan for how he will implement additional officers in the sheriff's office. 

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