JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Jacksonville Sheriff Mike Williams on Wednesday responded to reports that he could take over the Florida Department of Law Enforcement now that the current commissioner is resigning early.
FDLE Commissioner Rick Swearingen moved up his retirement from September to May. There was speculation Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis could appoint Williams to replace him.
I texted Williams Wednesday morning because his name has been circulated as a possible appointment to that position by the governor and that would have thrown a curveball into the upcoming 2023 race for sheriff.
In the text, I asked the sheriff if he wanted to comment on reports he could be the next FDLE commissioner.
This is what he texted back:
“Hi Jim, no problem on reaching out. I haven’t talked to the Governors office about FDLE. I appreciate being mentioned but I’m not interested. My plan is to finish my term as Sheriff. Thanks”
That appears to put to end the speculation of what could have happened and who might’ve filled the role of the sheriff had he left the office early. Political observers and some inside the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office have suggested that it would have been JSO Chief of Investigations T.K. Waters, who’s a candidate for sheriff, and that could have given him an edge in the election next year.
I showed the text Williams sent me to local Fraternal Order of Police President Randy Reaves. I asked Reaves if it surprised him.
“Oh, no. Sheriff Williams speaks for himself. So, no, it really doesn’t,” Reaves responded.
I then said, “So I guess the question is, does it disappoint you?”
“What do you mean by disappoint?” Reaves said.
I said, “Well, I mean, if Mike Williams were the head of FDLE, it would’ve said a lot for Jacksonville.”
‘Right. Yeah, that is a decision for the sheriff to make himself. So we will be here to support him in anything he does,” Reaves said.
Williams is not saying what he will do after leaving office.
Right now, there is a crowded field of candidates for sheriff. I asked the FOP when it might endorse a candidate and was told that will be a decision made by the entire membership, not just the executive board, and that, for now, the FOP would do that when the field becomes smaller -- after the first election when it could be down to two.