Clay County sheriff lays out budget for fighting crime, addresses need for employees

Sheriff Darryl Daniels says agency still understaffed by 46 positions

CLAY COUNTY, Fla. – Sheriff Darryl Daniels on Wednesday laid out the budget for fighting crime in Clay County and where there are still needs at his agency.

In a video posted on the Clay County Sheriff’s Office Facebook page, Daniels outlined his first-quarter budget. Daniels said the Sheriff’s Office is still understaffed by 46 positions, around 80% of which are civilian employees.

The video comes after Clay County’s budget session last year when Daniels asked the Board of County Commissioners for an extra $10.2 million. At that time, Daniels said the Sheriff’s Office was down dozens of deputies and couldn’t keep up with Clay County’s growth.

Clay County Commissioner Gavin Rollins told News4Jax last month that the Board of County Commissioners eventually agreed to an increase of about $4 million.

“We did give them one of the largest budget increases in Clay County history," Rollins said. “So I’m hopeful we can continue to work with them to take care of these challenges.”

Now, Daniels said, his focus is on developing a payment plan to offer more desirable wages for his civilian staff.

“80% of our vacancies are for civilian personnel, leading into our most critical vacancies being for crossing guards and public safety telecommunicators," Daniels said. “In order to combat these issues, we’re looking at the development of a competitive compensation package in order to remain relevant in the booming economy with low unemployment rates.”

One area where Daniels said his agency is getting outside help is a federal narcotics grant to help pay for one of his highest-profile units. The Sheriff’s Office narcotics team announced some large busts this week, including foiling an alleged drug operation being run out of a Green Cove Springs auto repair facility and intercepting 79.2 grams of cocaine before they were delivered to a Clay County address.

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