No new officers in Jacksonville sheriff's budget request

Sheriff Mike Williams is asking for money to raise salaries and benefits

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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The mayor's office is starting now on next year's city budget Mayor Lenny Curry will propose to the City Council next month.

Members of the Mayor’s Budget Review Committee heard from the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office on Thursday. Sheriff Mike Williams is asking for $445 million for the new fiscal year that begins in October. That’s about $35 million more than the current year.

For the first time since he became sheriff, Williams is not asking for more officers, but he is asking for $287,000 to hire staff for the new real-time crime center, which links ShotSpotter and surveillance cameras across the city. He is also asking for $556,000 to finish outfitting patrol officers with body cameras.

"We got a lot of technology that we put in place in the last couple of years that has built in some efficiencies, and we want to see that work," Williams said. 

The sheriff says he is seeing a big expense is with school safety assistants, the armed personnel used to protect kids at school. The Sheriff's Office and the Duval County School Board split that cost.

Williams said they are looking to make changes to that program and might hire an outside security firm to run it, but he said the Sheriff's Office still must provide JSO training for the safety assistants.

Over the next couple of weeks, the mayor’s office staff that makes up the Budget Review Commission will hear from all city departments as they work on the budget proposal. On Friday, the Jacksonville Fire Rescue Department will present its 2019-20 budget request.

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