Activists react after JSO asks for $500M in funding

Jacksonville Sheriff Mike Williams has laid out his budget request to the mayor's office, he's asking for a six-million dollar increase, as well as adding 40 new officers.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Jacksonville Sheriff Mike Williams is asking for $6 million more dollars in the JSO budget. In total, Sheriff Williams is asking for $481 million to fund his office.

Williams said the increase in funding is necessary because of the effect of protesters and unrest has had on the department. In his request to the City of Jacksonville, he said $5.5 million would go toward patrol costs.

“The current climate isn’t helping that I have a concern about moving forward as to what that is going to do with recruiting across-the-board for us but we’re working hard to try to push back those negative narratives,” Sheriff Williams said.

Williams also requested the means to hire 40 new officers. He told News4Jax he already has a shortage of 100 corrections officers.

Funding for the Sheriff’s Office already is the largest share of the city’s budget. Activists are raising red flags over the request.

The Jacksonville Community Action Committee said JSO should not receive any increase and should have its budget slashed because the department failed to prevent unrest in the city, saying JSO never provided enough transparency to make citizens feel safe.

The JCAC sent a statement which reads in part,

“The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office is under intense scrutiny from the community due to the high amount of police killings of civilians this year and the brutal repression of peaceful protesters in Jacksonville following the George Floyd killing as well as a general lack of accountability and transparency.”

The group is now planning a demonstration to apply pressure to elected leaders to follow suit.

The request for more funding comes just days after the announcement of at least 20 inmates tested positive for COVID-19 at the Duval County Jail.

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