Florida Sheriff’s Office Needs More Deputies to Protect and Patrol

Florida Sheriff’s Office Needs More Deputies to Protect and Patrol

The St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office in Fla., needs to add at least 40 more deputies to keep up with calls for service, according to the sheriff.

The St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office in St. Augustine, Fla., needs to add at least 40 more deputies to keep up with calls for service, according to the sheriff.

The population of St. Johns County has increased by more than 28 percent since 2010—an additional 50,000 residents—but the sheriff’s department staff has only increased by about 15 percent in the same period. Almost one-third of the additional sheriff’s office staff are assigned to school campuses under new state requirements in the wake of the Parkland school shooting.

There are currently 324 deputies with the Sheriff’s Office, and according to the sheriff, they could use 40 more deputies. According to News 4 Jax, that number may not be requested in the next budget year. The sheriff is meeting with department heads and the school district and will make his budget proposal this summer.

According to Spokesman Chuck Mulligan, having fewer deputies means the Sheriff’s Office may focus less on things like traffic stops in order to prioritize more critical issues.

"You may have nine or 10 personnel at one call, depending on how significant the call is, while other calls are simply an alarm call—a false alarm, for example. One deputy goes. Five minutes later, that call is resolved and we’re off to another call," Mulligan said.

The Sheriff’s Office lost employees during the recession a decade ago. Fifteen deputies were added in both 2016 and 2017 as the first additions since the recession, and 16 more were hired last year but assigned to school resource officer duties.

"We knew that budget cuts would be coming so we, on our own, began attrition (of) our workforce," Mulligan said.

News4Jax reported that most St. Johns County residents said they feel safe but know that population growth means more opportunities for crime. Residents hope to see more deputies patrolling their neighborhoods.

About the Author

Jessica Davis is the Associate Content Editor for 1105 Media.

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