JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Jacksonville’s City council is meeting Tuesday for the first time under the city’s newly elected mayor.
Mayor Donna Deegan presented her $1.7 billion budget to the Jacksonville City Council earlier this month.
One of the first items introduced will involve creating a new public safety position — Council Security Officer. The officer’s job will be to oversee the safety of council members and staff.
The job will also include implementing a security risk management plan for City Hall and other locations that the council uses for community meetings or events.
In the proposed ordinance, council members specifically highlight increased threats to public officials and employees statewide and nationally. It also cites concerns raised by more than a dozen employees about interactions at council meetings.
In December, someone shot through the fourth-floor window of the mayor’s office at City Hall. The window of the mayor’s office was found shattered when the blinds were lifted, according to a source at City Hall. A city council staffer found several 9 mm bullet casings in James Weldon Johnson Park after the shooting.
Florida also passed a new constitutional carry law – which no longer requires gun owners to obtain a concealed weapons license.
These are just a few reasons why some city council members are pushing for heightened security measures. If the bill moves forward – the Personnel Committee will appoint the council security officer.
A new security plan will be created to reduce potential threats around city hall. The sheriff will oversee a separate location for the City Council to hold meetings outside of city hall in case of threats. A decision is not expected on this proposal Tuesday night.
Another priority to be discussed would be the possible relocation of the Duval County Jail and the construction of a new one.
The meeting will be held Tuesday at 5 p.m. Pending City Council approval, the budget will take effect on Oct. 1.