Sheriff needs $1.3 million for body cameras, wants more officers

Pension reform to save Jacksonville Sheriff's Office $38 million next year

By Jim Piggott - Reporter

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Every summer, the Jacksonville City Council is asked to give more money to the Sheriff’s Office to hire more police officers. The process this year includes two other big budget factors: body cameras and pension reform.

The Sheriff's Office budget is one of the biggest expenditures for the city, and the change in pension funding actually decreases retirement funding that is this year, but it estimates the rollout of body cameras for officers will cost just over $1.1 million.

"We are now starting to see some of the costs start," Sheriff Mike Williams said. "So we will have the basic framework of the body camera unit. That's in this budget. About six people. We will add some civilians as we need to do that. And they will help shepherd the pilot program as well."

While the JSO is saving money from pension reform, it also needs an additional $10.5 million to pay for raises for officers' raises promised during contract negotiations, and $4.8 million in overtime costs due to security at Daily's Place.

The budget request also calls for $224,589 for two operators and costs for a new ballistics analysis system, two additional officers for its community projects team, just over $1.3 million for computer and technology upgrades and about $130,000 for a nurse practitioner and health counselor and $76,000 for outreach coordinator.

The Sheriff's Office laid out its $436 million budget request Tuesday for the Mayor's Budget Review Committee, but that has already dropped to $407 million due to the $38 million savings in pension costs.

The price tag could go higher because the sheriff wants to hire more officers. Williams eventually wants an additional 140 officers, but he knows that he won’t get them all this year.

"The mayor will continue to have discussions on the number of police officers that we feel we can have for this coming year," Williams said.

The 2016-17 budget allocation was just over $430 million.

The Jacksonville Fire Department will pitch their budget needs Wednesday. 
   
The mayor's office will take review the budget requests of the Sheriff's Office, Fire Department, and other city departments and present its proposal to the City Council in July. The full council won't pass a budget until September.

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