Sheriff looking to change how to police Jacksonville

Mike Williams says priority of his second term is to review zone boundaries

By Scott Johnson - Reporter

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Shortly after he thanked supporters Tuesday night for electing him to a second term as sheriff, Mike Williams told News4Jax he plans to update how the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office assigns officers -- the first change in the department's six patrol zones in more than 20 years.

Currently, JSO's Zone 4, which covers all of Duval County south of Interstate 10 and west of the St. Johns River, is the busiest zone in the city. A lot more people live on the Westside now than in the 1990s and housing developments continue to go up.

     JSO zone map
  • Zone 1 - Downtown / Springfield / Eastside
  • Zone 2 - Arlington / Intracoastal West
  • Zone 3 - Southside / Mandarin / San Marco
  • Zone 4 - Riverside / Avondale / Ortega / Westside
  • Zone 5 - Northwest / New Town / Baldwin
  • Zone 6 - Northside / San Mateo / Oceanway

Williams said the department will talk about the need to redraw boundaries to accommodate Jacksonville’s growth.

"We are always constantly evaluating that," Williams said Tuesday night. "We will, you know, at the end of this year have an assessment done to talk about staffing, talk about our zone realignment."

"I don’t really see a lot of police over here," Westside resident Mike Salas said. "It’s very quiet."

Another Westside resident told News4Jax he does often see patrol cars riding through his neighborhood.

Jacksonville has added more than 150,000 residents in 20 years -- nearly a 21 percent increase -- and growth has not been equally distributed in the county. Not only has Westside grown, Southside has exploded with apartment complexes and subdivisions. Even Oceanway has seen major new developments.

Some people who report regularly seeing JSO cruisers nearby said it's because an officer lives in the area and drives the patrol car home.

"I just see them park. That’s it. But I don’t see any danger out here," David Aviles said.

The Sheriff's Office said when one zone has more calls that its assigned officers can handle, they reroute officers from a neighboring zone.

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