FHP to respond on state roads in Jax

Budget cuts will leave JSO with inadequate workforce for crashes

Published On: Jul 24 2012 06:09:19 PM EDT   Updated On: Jul 24 2012 06:10:26 PM EDT
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -

Just because there may be less money for the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office doesn't mean there will fewer car accidents in Jacksonville.

Instead, there will simply be fewer people writing tickets when it comes to state roads.

Until now, a crash could be investigated by the Florida Highway Patrol or the JSO. But because of budget cuts, the sheriff says his men and women won't have time to do that any more, so they wont be responding to crashes on 20 different roads in the city.

Zones 2, 3 and 4, will be affected. That includes some major roads.

No longer will JSO officers write crash reports, respond to injuries, direct traffic or clear a scene. That will all belong to FHP and will mean major man hours.

Zone 2 in the greater Arlington area contains Southside, Beach and Atlantic Boulevards. In that area alone, there were a total of 681 calls for service in the last three months.

Zone 3, the biggest zone in the city, covers the area from the St. Johns River to the St. Johns County line and includes Beach Boulevard, Interstate 95 and U.S. Highway 1. Zone 3 also has the highest number of calls, for a total of 927 in the last three-month period.

The last area is Zone 4 in southwest Jacksonville. It includes U.S. Highway 17, Normandy Boulevard, Interstate 10 and 103rd Street. There were 665 calls for service in this zone in the same time period.

Officers say these calls take at least an hour and two officers, on average.

Based on these numbers, when JSO is forced to turn patrols of state roads over to FHP, state troopers could be faced with thousands of additional calls, requiring at least that many hours and the officers to work them.

The number of 2,000 crashes is actually a conservative one. It includes only crashes in which a report is written. Often when the damage is $500 or less, a report isn't written.