Sheriff candidates address week of shootings


JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – After two deadly shootings in two days that left three people dead and left three more in the hospital, the community and local leaders are very upset, including the two candidates running to be Jacksonville's next sheriff.

Ken Jefferson and Mike Williams will go head-to-head in next month's general election and they've been talking about the rise in crime in Jacksonville and how to reverse the trend.

With thousands expected to hit the polls next month, violent crime is a top issue in the city but this is nothing new to Jefferson and Williams.

"It has to be addressed and it doesn't need to be addressed just by the Sheriff's Office, but all of the community," Jefferson said.

"It's always tough when you see something like that. But it really drives you to hopefully it gets the community to do something about that," said Williams.

During a press conference Friday, Jacksonville Sheriff's Office director Tom Hackney said that these shootings were gang-related, a detail that isn't typically heard from officers at a crime scene.

There could be many reasons for why gang violence happens whether retaliation or initiation. For both candidates, preventing young people from joining in the first place is a top priority and that means investing in the right programs.

According to Jefferson it takes a head-on, proactive approach to make a difference. "I intend to hit it head-on with a proactive street crimes unit. That's going to address all of these issues that the gangs are doing. Even to the point where they are recruiting our young men to become a part of the gangs."

"Keeping the youth in our community active and engaged in something beyond standing on a street corner. We want them involved in something other than meeting a drug dealer," said Williams.

About the Author: