JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – News4JAX has been sitting down one-on-one with each of the five candidates for sheriff, asking them how they would approach transparency and other hot-button issues in the special election.
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Democrat Wayne Clark has over 40 years of experience in law enforcement -- both with corrections and patrols -- and served 30 of those years with the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office.
Clark said the department that he is asking voters to elect him to lead is currently not “as transparent as they could be.”
“We know that in law enforcement, there are certain things we must keep confidential to keep the integrity of cases, but a lot of things that we do, we owe it to the public to be transparent, to be upfront, to get the story out,” Clark said.
Clark believes the best example of the current lack of transparency at JSO is what is happening with body cameras.
“Why did we get body cameras? We said we bought them to make us more transparent, but yet we have difficulty in releasing body camera footage,” Clark said. “Barring a court order, we should come up with a policy and with a certain time timetable, release that information.”
Another burning question is whether JSO is “top-heavy” with its administration.
“One of the first things I’m going to do when I become sheriff is to do an audit of everybody’s position, not only in the top tier, but all the way down because there are opportunities, I believe, that we can gain better efficiency in personnel by rolling some of those people back to the street to give more presence in patrol,” Clark said.
And where the sheriff lives became a hot topic when former Sheriff Mike Williams made the decision to move out of Jacksonville, which led to his resignation before the end of his final term.
“Absolutely, I think the sheriff should live in Duval County and absolutely, I live in Duval County. I have lived in Duval County my entire life,” Clark said. “You can’t lead a place if you’re not in a place. As sheriff, you’ve got to be willing to go everywhere to serve everyone. And you need to be out in the community that you are serving.”