JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – As five candidates vie to be the next Jacksonville sheriff, News4JAX is sitting down with each of them one-on-one to get their take on some of the hot-button issues in the special election.
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Ken Jefferson is no stranger to viewers at News4JAX, having been in front of the camera as Channel 4′s crime and safety expert in the past. He resigned from that role when he opted to run for office.
Jefferson spent 24 years with the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office and said if elected he will bring about changes and more transparency.
“They’re transparent to an extent, but there’s always room for improvement. I intend to be a totally, unequivocally 100%, transparent sheriff as well as have agency follow suit, as well. One of the first things I intend to do with regards to transparency, you know, the citizens are, a lot of the citizens are calling for a citizens review board to review actions of a police and measure their skills based on decisions that they’ve made. Well, I intend on my first day in office to sign an MOU, a memorandum of understanding with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement so that we can be transparent by giving them all investigative power to investigate police involved shootings, as well as in custody deaths.”
JSO gets the lion’s share of the city budget. This year, the department is requesting nearly $540 million. One area Jefferson believes could change is the number of appointed officials in the upper tier of JSO.
“From the outside looking in, it looks to be, in my opinion, too top-heavy. With a lot of persons being in appointed positions,” Jefferson said. “We can actually do a lot more with those salaries by placing additional officers on the streets because we always run into a shortage.”
And recently, residency has been a hotly debated issue since former Sheriff Mike Williams made the decision to move out of Jacksonville, which led to his resignation before the end of his final term.
Jefferson said that shouldn’t be a concern for voters when it comes to his candidacy.
“I’ve been a part of this community since 1957. I don’t intend to leave this community,” Jefferson said. “I want to serve the people of this community in the capacity as a sheriff.”