JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Jacksonville voters have re-elected Sheriff Mike Williams to a second term.
On Tuesday, Williams easily defeated his one challenger, Tony Cummings, capturing 62 percent of the vote to avoid a runoff in May.
With all 199 precincts reporting at 8:40 p.m., Williams, a Republican, had 89,917 votes to his Democratic challenger's 56,061.
"This was an exciting run. Thank you so much for all of your help and support," the leader of the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office said as he took the stage before thanking his wife and family for their support. "I was honored four years ago when I answered your call to serve this great city as your sheriff and tonight, I'm honored to answer that call once again."
Williams said Tuesday's election marks the next chapter of what needs to be done to protect the people of Jacksonville.
"Today, JSO is ready to handle any challenge," he said. "We will continue to work in like-step work with you to combat the street culture of gangs, drugs and violence that threatens families and neighborhoods. Our core strategy moving forward is a simple one: We know what works and we will do more of that. We will do it faster and we will do it better."
Williams said every person and every community deserves to be safe and his agency will not stop until that becomes a reality.
"Our methods will only get better because of our tools, the community and the professionals involved in this effort. We know that the tools are beginning to deliver. Our expanded technologies like ShotSpotter, NIBIN (National Integrated Ballistics Information Network) and the Real-Time Crime Center are driving critical intelligence to our officers," he said. "We are having an impact. We are getting bad guys off the street quicker and we will stay this course."
During his victory speech, Williams also credited the community members who help his officers every day in an effort to drive crime out of neighborhoods.
"The vast number of tips that come to us daily is the proof that our citizens are in this fight with us. I'm also grateful to the partners who work with us to disrupt this cycle of violence. Prevention programs like the Police Athletic League of Jacksonville and the Kids Hope Alliance and others are having a strong positive impact in our community."
Supporters at Williams' Election Night Watch Party were thrilled as the results came in.
"It's going to be a great direction. Sheriff Williams has the city of Jacksonville moving in the right direction," said Gary Dickinson, a Williams supporter. "The crime reduction strategies are proven to work. We're going to see it working and it's going to be another great four years."
Afterward, News4Jax caught up with Williams to talk about some of the other issues moving forward, including the staffing of officers in new neighborhoods popping up across the city.
"We are always constantly evaluating that," he said. "We will, you know, at the end of this year, have an assessment done to talk about staffing, talk about our zone realignment, which we haven't really looked at in 20-plus years, to make sure that we are putting (in) the right number of people, deploying as efficiently as we can."
Cummings also ran against Williams four years ago in a four-way race.
Throughout the next four years, Williams is expected to continue to work alongside State Attorney Melissa Nelson and Mayor Lenny Curry, who was also re-elected Tuesday night.
Races for property appraiser, tax collector avoid runoff
Jacksonville voters also decided the races for property appraiser and tax collector without a May runoff election.
Republican Jerry Holland won a second term as property appraiser over Democrat Kurt Kraft with a vote of 66 to 34 percent.
After being elected tax collector in a special election last year, Republican Jim Overton defeated his Democratic challenger John Crescimbeni by a margin of 58 to 42 percent.
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