A new Jacksonville Sheriff's Office substation opened Tuesday morning on the campus of Edward Waters College. The station is a collaboration with JSO and the school's Criminal Justice and Forensic Science Center.
The building cost $2.6 million to complete, with donations coming from the community and JSO. It houses classrooms and a criminology lab on the first floor, and a police substation on the second floor. It is the largest renovation to the Florida's oldest historically black college since 2005.
Edward Waters President Nat Glover, who is a former Jacksonville sheriff, says the new addition is great for the school and the students studying to work in the industry.
"It's a learning cathedral for our Criminal Justice Program, so our students are actually studying in a working substation. That's like a doctor or intern studying at a hospital," Glover said.
"I think it's going to be a great recruiting tool for the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office, because we're going to be shoulder-to-shoulder with criminology majors at Edward Waters College day in and day out," Rutherford said.
Many people who live in the Northwest Jacksonville neighborhood said an increased police presence is welcome. In 2012, there were more than 1,500 violent crimes committed within a one-mile radius of the school.
"It's well-needed in this community. There is a lot of crime that goes on right around here. And if [police] are right there they can get to it quicker," said resident Toni Myers. "I hope it will make the people doing all the crime think two or three times because the police will be so much closer."
Glover agrees, hoping the school will help reduce crime in the area.
"The presence of a police substation is a deterrent to crime," he said.
"It really is a game-changer for the neighborhood, the safety of the neighborhood," added former Jaguars owner Wayne Weaver, who contributed to the substation. "Two-hundred and forty officers -- it blew me away to hear Sheriff (John) Rutherford say that."