Let me just get right to it.
Off-duty officers with the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office are currently being used to protect more than half of Duval County’s public schools, so that the District complies with a new Florida law. But, fresh in to the school year, there are big questions about who exactly will be picking up that bill.
The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office budget was recently under the spotlight by the City Council Finance Committee, as part of their hearings on Mayor Lenny Curry’s $1.2 billion City budget proposal. In that came a warning that JSO overtime hours would likely be up, because they’re mandating off-duty officers work shifts at Duval County Public School elementary schools.
“We’re gunna need this Council’s support, to support us in demanding that we get reimbursed. Because $12/hour doesn’t buy one of our JSO officers,” says Curry’s Chief Administrative Officer Sam Mousa.
Sheriff Mike Williams says they’ve been coordinating for weeks with DCPS to ensure Duval County would be in compliance with a new state law, which requires all schools have armed security on campus. This can be achieved through a sworn police officer, a school resource officer, or a guardian- who is a non-teacher school employee that goes through screening and training, and has a license to concealed carry.
So, with more than 100 sworn officers working overtime at local schools as of now, JSO is keeping a detailed account of the cost they’re racking up.
“With the legislation being very clear that the District is responsible for this, my expectation is that we are reimbursed from the School Board for those costs,” Williams says.
But he says the District has alredy told him they will have challenges in doing that.
“This is what’s kind of frightening- the payback after all this is over, from the school system,” says Councilman Tommy Hazouri.
Hazouri says the District should currently be paying around $12/hour for SSA’s, but instead, there are fully sworn JSO officers being used for that job- meaning the District is racking up an even bigger bill.
“We’re gunna need to go after our money,” Mousa says.
Where I think Williams and Mousa come off as #$@^s I can’t really get (completely) mad at them.
You see the state sent the district 3.6 million dollars to pay for a job that if you wanted to do it right was going to cost over ten. because they didn’t really believe in protecting our children, just playing lip service to it. The district has been put into an impossible position and instead of chipping in JSO and the mayor’s office are demanding an IOU.
Here is the thing, isn’t it the police’s job to protect our children? Instead of setting up another speed trap on Roosevelt maybe put that officer in a school. Isn’t it the mayor’s job to go through the couch cushions to find money to pay to keep our kids safe.
I can’t help but think that wasted 5 million the QEA sent to Darryl Willie and TFA Jax could really come in handy now.
If we want better we are going to need a change in Tallahassee and maybe some local places as well.