Candidate's Plan to Take Back Streets of Jacksonville
- Restore the Trust of the Community in Our Police Force:
It is a well-known fact that our police force has had some serious problems with a few of its officers in recent years. Local news agencies have been reporting on police misconduct monthly, so it seems. And the number of officers that have been arrested in recent years has been nothing short of astonishing. These arrests have ranged from low level crimes such as petty theft and prostitution, to your more serious offenses—racketeering and money laundering. The negative publicity has all but destroyed the stellar reputation that our police force once enjoyed not too long ago. This erosion of trust by a few bad actors simply cannot be allowed to continue. That is one of the reasons why I have decided to run for Sheriff of Duval County—to restore your trust in our law enforcement agency.
- Build Real and Lasting Partnerships With Our Citizenry:
It does not matter if your line of work is a public or private entity, faith-based or school, for-profit or nonprofit, I want to solicit your help as an equal partner in the fight to take back our streets. I believe that there are no shortages of good ideas to combat crime, and that no one individual has a patent on good ideas. It is with this understanding that I want to lead you in this quest to drive the drug dealers, prostitutes, and gang members from our neighborhoods. Now, a partnership is a 50-50 relationship between two or more entities, which means one person cannot do it alone. We must stand together.
March 24, 2015, I am asking for your help as a partner in turning our city's violent crime problem around—and we will turn it around.
- Curb the Gun Violence That Has Made Our City the Murder Capital of Florida:
Let me first start by saying that I am a strong supporter of the 2nd amendment to the United States Constitution. We, do, have the right to keep and bear arms. This is one surefire means of protecting ourselves and our family members from those who would try to do us harm. This is a good thing. However, I do believe that we can make it a great thing.
Because of our current violent crime problem in the city, I believe that prudent-minded people must be willing to discuss and debate simple measures that would help to reduce the rate of violence in our neighborhoods. We can begin, first, by agreeing to discuss as a community, real solutions for keeping guns out of the hands of our children. This would at least get the conversation started and perhaps lead to some real results.
- Unite The Community to Properly Address the Homeless Problem in Our City:
The members of law enforcement cannot effectively address the problem of homelessness in our city without the help of the entire community. This means sitting down at the table and crafting a plan that involves input from all segments of our city (i.e., public and private). Finding a lasting solution will require some tough decision making and plenty of sacrifice from everyone involved. The Jacksonville Journey was an excellent first step, but tougher accountability measures must be a part of the solution. Again, true lasting partnerships are 50-50. Anything less is simply a shell game.
- Bring Under Control, the Out-of-Control Traffic in Our City:
Jacksonville’s population has grown well beyond numbers seen just a decade ago, so one would almost come to expect, and even accept, out of control traffic—right? Wrong! We (the citizens of Jacksonville) do not have to accept unsafe streets and highways.
On day one in office, I intend to aggressively utilize our police traffic unit to weed out bad drivers on our roadways. Our agency has some of the finest traffic officers in the state, hands-down. If properly deployed, they can make a significant difference on some of the most heavily traveled roadways in our city. Recently, we (the citizenry) have been hit with a barrage of red light cameras that are supposed to augment our traffic officers at various intersections. The testing phase of two of these cameras netted more than 500 red light violators in 1-month. While these cameras may appear to be effective on the surface, I would contend that they fall well short of providing the safety net (i.e., deterrence) that they were supposed to provide. If 500 people at two intersections is considered a successful deterrent, then I would hate to be the driver coming from the opposite direction.
Now, please don't get me wrong. There is some benefit to having maybe a handful of red light cameras around town. However, do we (the citizenry) really want them on every corner if they do not provide the desired effect (i.e., deterrence)?
- Stop the Rapid Decline in the Number of Officers Patrolling Our Streets:
As the city of Jacksonville grew rapidly over the past decade, the number of sworn patrol officers protecting its streets declined significantly. In 2003, there were just over 1600 sworn officers patrolling our streets. Today, there are slightly fewer of these brave men and women. Some of the decline in numbers can be attributed to the budget crisis that our city underwent recently, and much of the country for that matter, but it does not erase the fact that our city has fewer officers on its streets and thousands more new citizens. This is an unsafe proposition that if left unchecked, may yield unintended consequences (i.e., more violence on our streets). This issue will be front and center in a Tony Cummings administration.
- Streamline, Restructure, and Consolidate Police Resources to Eliminate Wasteful or Unnecessary Spending and Promote Effective Resource Allocation:
The mantra for any organization when it comes to employee output should be, “The higher the salaries, the greater the expectations and performance.” No exceptions.
It is time to demand more of your elected and appointed officials. The citizens can no longer afford to subsidize ethically deficient, inept individuals who, often because of favoritism, nepotism, and cronyism, are artificially elevated into positions of authority. We must make wiser use of our tax dollars and insist, along with our fellow citizens, that morally grounded and highly astute individuals are chosen to hold these positions in the future.
March 24, 2015, with your vote, I intend to streamline, restructure, and consolidate (where possible), our police force to make it more efficient and effective across the board. I will begin with my administration, work through to middle management, and conclude with a review the most rookie employee in the organization, to ensure that everyone is in the position that they are most qualified to hold and most beneficial to the mission of the agency. Favoritism, nepotism, and cronyism has no place inside the four walls of our police force. A Tony Cummings administration will put a stop to this on day one. Honesty, fairness, equality, and competitiveness will rule the day.
- Ensuring That Everyone Has a Seat at the Table of Ideas:
- Dealing With the Problem of Overcrowding at the Pretrial Detention Facility (Duval County Jail):
Overcrowding of our jails is not a unique phenomenon to the First Coast. It is a big problem throughout our country and a solution, of any sort, has been quite elusive in past years.
The primary mission of our police force is to protect you and your family. This means arresting people who have done, or would do, you and your loved ones harm. Unfortunately, our jails take the brunt of the impact of these arrests, and I offer no apologies for that. But, I do believe that we can take some common sense steps to help ease the overcrowding. For one, we can take a hard look at the recidivism rate of our inmate population and examine, in consultation with our State Attorney's Office, new ways to effectively reduce these numbers. Our scope of ideas must be broad and all inclusive. In other words, all lawful and safe options must be considered and evaluated to determine if they would be beneficial in easing the problem of overcrowding. Simply arresting individuals for an offense one day, and having them return to our jail for the same offense two or three days later, makes absolutely no sense. This is an obvious waste of resources and taxpayers dollars. I will be committed to finding a solution.
Modernize Our Police Force to Take Advantage of Advancements in New Technologies That Will Allow Our Agency to Continue to Be One of the Premier Law Enforcement Agencies in the South.
Our police force has some of the finest men and women in uniform in the nation, despite a handful of really bad actors. That said, it is my personal mission to ensure that these brave officers have what they need, daily, to do their jobs effectively. The safety of the community depends on their mission readiness. It is with this spirit that I intend to aggressively seek out, and incorporate, new technologies throughout the department. This will require some realignment of departmental budgetary priorities, but it can and will be done. I consider it an investment in you and the safety of your family.