Local police union calls on JSO to address staffing issues at Duval County Jail

JACKSONVILLE, Florida. –The Fraternal Order of Police of Jacksonville (FOP) is calling on the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office to address staffing shortages at the Duval County Jail.

FOP President Randy Reeves said staffing has been a problem for a few years and the situation is only getting worse.

The FOP hopes whoever is elected as the new Sheriff of Jacksonville will recognize and address this issue.

Currently, staff are working longer shifts, operating at minimum capacity and replacing where they can.

“When you work with minimal staff, that can be a danger in itself. But now you are filling minimally staffed positions with employees who are overworked. So that’s always one of our concerns. Guys work five days in a row, two or three of those days they might get held up. And then on one of their days off, they get to work more overtime,” Reeves said.

Reeves also said the staffing issue had affected police response times somewhat.

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In the past, if inmates were in hospitals and needed police presence, the department would replace them with corrections officers, but since there are no corrections officers, it removes officers who would normally be in the street.

Reeves called the reasons for the staffing issues “the perfect storm of trouble.”

“Over the past two or three years, we have seen law enforcement take hits in the national media. Few people want a career in law enforcement, whether in the police or in corrections. So I think there are fewer people applying for the job. Also, I think the reality is that when it comes to pay and benefits, you can find another job that pays the same or more with a lot less responsibility, street work, and mental and physical strain,” said Reaves.

He acknowledges that this is not an overnight solution, but stresses that the problem must be solved for the safety of officers and the community.

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Reeves encourages the community to spread the word about becoming a correctional officer and urges people to vote for the sheriff candidate they think will help get things done.

Reeves also said that FOP plans to work closely with JSO to resolve staffing issues and that the organization is curious to see how JSO’s increased budget will go towards fixes.

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