JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Fifteen community organizations or individuals -- including State Rep. Angie Nixon -- have signed an open letter to City Council President Sam Newby, imploring him to continue the work being done by Jacksonville’s Safer Together Committee.
The letter comes following Councilman Michael Boylan’s announcement that he’s resigning as vice-chair of the committee. Boylan told the council president that he didn’t see a real path forward for tangible change.
The letter reads in part, “With the recent resignation of Councilman Michael Boylan from the committee, it has left many in the community shocked and afraid that this committee will die and no meaningful reform will occur. We are asking you to take a stand with community leaders and organizations and keep the work of the Safer Together committee going.”
Boylan said he was stepping down from the committee, which is aimed at improving relationships between police and the community, following a heated meeting Friday over the possible implementation of a Citizens Review Board (CRB).
Safer Together has held a series of workshops with members of the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office, and after those workshops, recommended the creation of a CRB. The current review process starts with the State Attorney’s Office, and then an internal review by JSO.
Boylan has said that since the start of the committee he was not in support of a CRB, something that the Northside Coalition and other community members have pushed for.
Dear Council President Sam Newby,
We, the undersigned, would first like to thank you for keeping the important work of the Safer Together Committee going when you took office as City Council President. Created last year by the late Mayor and former Council President Tommy Hazouri following the historic summer of 2020 when tens of thousands of Jacksonville residents took to the streets, demanding police reform, this committee has been historic in examining the relationship between law enforcement and the broader community.
From this committee, community members and all stakeholders have been able to learn and become knowledgeable of the practices and policies of the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office while learning what reforms are necessary to ensure trust between law enforcement and the broader community. The Safer Together meetings have been instrumental in allowing community stakeholders a forum by which to bring forth concerns and suggestions that could improve public safety in Jacksonville moving forward.
We, the undersigned, are imploring your office to keep the work of the Safer Together Committee going and appoint a new Co-Chair, alongside Councilwoman Joyce Morgan, to oversee the work of the committee. With the recent resignation of Councilman Michael Boylan from the committee, it has left many in the community shocked and afraid that this committee will die and no meaningful reform will occur. We are asking you to take a stand with community leaders and organizations and keep the work of the Safer Together committee going.
Jacksonville Community Action Committee
Angie Nixon, Florida State House Rep District 14
Northside Coalition of Jacksonville
Isiah Rumlin - President of the Jacksonville Chapter of the NAACP
Take Em Down Jax
University of North Florida Students for a Democratic Society
Rev Gundy - Florida State Director for the African American Ministers in Action
The Black Commission
The Kemetic Empire
Jacksonville Leadership Coalition
SWAG (Southern Women Against Gun Violence)
Jacksonville Palestine Solidarity Network
Bobbie G. O’Connor & Associates
Planned Parenthood of South, East, and North Florida