Candidates for sheriff of Duval County

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – In early March, WJXT began requested a photo and statement from each of the seven announced candidates for sheriff of Jacksonville. Here  is the material we have received from the candidates so far, presented in alphabetical order:

Tony Cummings


"I am seeking the office of Sheriff of Duval County to lead the citizen of Jacksonville in the fight to take back their streets from the senseless wave of violence that has paralyzed communities all across the First Coast in recent years. The murder rate alone has labeled our great city The Unofficial Murder Capital of Florida, surpassing the city of Miami. This negative title is not reflective of the love and caring attitudes of so many families who call Jacksonville their home. It is these individuals that I would like to partner with, as your next Sheriff, to bring this nightmare under control.

"In addition, it is my belief that the citizens of Jacksonville need, and deserve, a relationship with the Sheriff's Office, and the Sheriff, that is rooted in trust. The hardworking men and women of the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office deserve the same. Unfortunately, with the arrest of so many officers—to include JSO administrators—for atrocious behavior leading to criminal acts, the trustworthiness of our agency has taken a big hit under the current JSO leadership. Our community deserves, and expects, so much better.

"Finally, it is time for the Sheriff's Office to take a hard look at how we utilize our resources, more specifically, our manpower. The citizens of Jacksonville can no longer afford to waste tax dollars on an over-sized, inefficient, administration. Nor can they afford to subsidize poor or under-performing managers. Our budget is nearing $400 million dollars and the most the citizens of this city hear from the current administration is "we need more money". Curbing cost at the JSO, I understand, is a difficult task in the current economic environment. However, as your next Sheriff, this will be a top priority of my administration. It is my position that by trimming the excess from the administration, adjusting the duties of middle management, and reassigning underutilized personnel (i.e., officers and civilians), thousands of dollars can be saved and re-prioritized, while allowing for more officers to patrol our streets."

Jay Farhat


"I am running for Sheriff because I love this city, and I know that a dedicated and effective law enforcement agency is critical to the success of any city. After graduating from Florida State University, I returned to Jacksonville and made law enforcement my career. I have spent the last 22 years working in virtually every JSO unit, and have worked my way through the ranks to serve in multiple leadership roles. My broad experience has provided me the opportunity and insight to have an intimate working knowledge of JSO and the challenges facing Jacksonville. As Sheriff, I will continue to work tirelessly for the people of Jacksonville because I know that an efficient and effective police force helps improve quality of life; ensuring public safety and fostering an environment conducive to economic development. I want Jacksonville to be a model city and leader in law enforcement administration and innovation. Through technology and community outreach we will create a more engaged Jacksonville – a partnership that benefits all citizens. I believe that a thriving economy deters crime, and a fiscally sound police agency means safe streets. As Sheriff, I will streamline my administration with fewer political appointees, putting more patrol officers on the street. I am committed to the citizens of Jacksonville and helping our city realize its full potential. My wife and I are raising our two sons here because we believe in Jacksonville's future. With my family's support, I am running for Sheriff to make Jacksonville's bright future a reality."

Jimmy Holderfield

"I am uniquely qualified to help the agency connect with, protect and serve the citizens of Jacksonville. I bring 35 years of extensive law enforcement experience and a connection with the community from decades of continued public service. I bring the most diverse background (inside and outside the JSO) of all candidates: Patrol; Detectives; Administrative Services, Human Resources, Legal Affairs; Budgeting as both a Director and Chief; and Corrections. My background shows I rose through the ranks while effectively and successfully serving in many areas within the department, giving me keen insight, invaluable experience and earning me respect from my peers. Combine that with my assignments and responsibilities outside of the JSO (local, state and national levels) for an even greater perspective beyond that of a person working solely within the department. Additionally, I am the only candidate to serve as Chairman (two terms) and on the Board of Directors of a Financial Institution. I am the only candidate to attend the FBI Academy in Quantico, VA. I am the only candidate to serve on and as Chairperson of Jacksonville's Ethics Commission. My additional public service over the years includes leadership positions with the Morocco Shriners, Big Brothers/Big Sisters, to Leadership Jacksonville and Rotary to name a few. My father was a mechanic and my mother was a homemaker. I graduated from Paxon High School (1977), have advanced education and training that includes an Associate of Arts Degree in Criminal Justice and a Bachelor of Science in Workforce Education. I have attended countless professional training seminars along with certification courses over the years. My vision for the JSO is to better safeguard our community by connecting with our citizens, city leaders, our neighborhoods, surrounding agencies and within the department itself to tackle the many challenges we face. We are the Bold New City of the South and we need to rethink in terms of community which can only be done with the right leadership. Crime affects us all regardless of political affiliation or which part of town you call home. I know how to lead by example both inside and outside of the Sheriff's Office. On a personal note, I am happily married to Pam, my best friend and wife of 35 years. We have two sons, James and Kenny. James (wife Kristen and daughter Olivia) is a patrol officer with the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office and assigned to Zone 5. Kenny is a graduate of FSCJ and works part-time with the Shriners."

Ken Jefferson

  • Be proactive and deal with juvenile crime by partnering with faith based organizations, businesses and the community to teach and mentor young people to deter the at risk behavior
  • Increase police visibility in the high crime areas and our community at large
  • Due to the very high rate of pedestrian deaths in our city, I would establish a strong and aggressive separate traffic enforcement unit
  • Establish a Community Advisory Committee comprised of key stakeholders, community leaders, citizens, high school and college students to obtain input on ways we can better serve the needs of our citizens

"We can do better… together, Let's do it."

Mark Kerrin

Mark Kerrin is a former Jacksonville Sheriff's officer, has worked for Atlanta police, the Department of Defense and the former National Security director for Rosa Parks. Currently an adjunct pProfessor teaching courses in criminal justice, police operations and administration, terrorism, etc. and information technology. Formally trained at the U.S. Secret Service Academy and currently a member of the FBI's InfraGard, holding a bachelor's degree in criminal justice, a masters in public safety leadership, emergency management and forensics and is in his final year as a doctoral candidate in information technology, biometrics and systems integration for critical infrastructure protection.

Rob Schoonover

This candidate has not provided a photo or statement to News4Jax.

Mike Williams

This candidate has not provided a photo or statement to News4Jax.