It is a well-known fact that the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office 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 the JSO 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 proposed the introduction of Civilian Review Boards and a Public Accountability Office inside the JSO. The hard work of implementing these, and other measures designed to restore public trust in our law enforcement agency, will begin on my first day in office.
If it works for Seattle, Washington.
It can work for Jacksonville, Florida.
Let's Do This, Jacksonville. Let's Rebuild The Trust
Between Our Citizens and Our Police.
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. I am asking for your VOTE and partnership to help turn our city's violent crime problem around—and we will turn it around.
Let me 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. The framers of the constitution included this amendment as a means of self-protection from those who would do you harm. Of course, this is a good thing. However, I do believe that we can make a good thing even better.
Because of the current level of violent crime in our city, I believe that prudent-minded citizens must be willing to discuss, and openly debate, simple measures that would help to reduce the rate of violence in our neighborhoods. We must first begin by agreeing to hear all reasonable suggestions from our fellow citizens about how to keep guns out of the hands of our children. I know you love your children as much as I love my own, so let's have a fruitful conversation to find real solutions.
It is an unfortunate reality that our beautiful city, since 2012, has been labeled the Unofficial Murder Capital of Florida, but it doesn't have to be.
Violent Crime: 27,414
Source: FBI UCR 2012-2016
Violent Crime: 22,736
Source: FBI UCR 2012-2016
Violent Crime: 12,017
Source: FBI UCR 2012-2016
Violent Crime: 10,543
Source: FBI UCR 2012-2016
Note: The Above Crime Totals Have Increased Since Release of 2017-2018
FBI Data Making Jacksonville: The Official Murder Capital of Florida
The dedicated men and women of the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office cannot effectively address the problem of homelessness in our city without the help of the entire community. This will require sitting down at the table and crafting a plan that involves input from all segments of our community (i.e., public and private). Finding a lasting solution will require making some tough decisions and plenty of sacrifice. The Jacksonville Journey was an excellent first step, and with tougher accountability measures, can be a part of the solution again.
Anything less than a 50-50 partnership is simply a shell game.
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, and I am not exaggerating. If properly deployed, they can make a significant difference on some of the most heavily traveled roadways in our city. It is my position that more traffic officers would help to make our streets safer.
As the city of Jacksonville grew rapidly over the past decade, the number of sworn patrol officers protecting its streets rapidly declined. Today, there are fewer of these brave men and women patrolling our streets. Some of the decline in numbers can be attributed to our city's past budget crisis. It does not, however, 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, will have unintended consequences (i.e., more violence on our streets). This issue will be front and center in a Dr. Tony Cummings administration.
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.
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 the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office. A Dr. Tony Cummings administration will put a stop to this on day one.
Honesty * Equality * Fairness * Respect
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, in the past has been quite elusive.
The primary mission of the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office 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 2 or 3 days later, makes absolutely no sense. This is an obvious waste of resources and taxpayers dollars. I will, as your Sheriff, be committed to finding a lasting solution.
The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office has some of the finest men and women in uniform in the nation, despite a few 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.