Jax Councilors feel 'targeted' by Sheriff's poll pushing 100 new cops – Florida Politics (blog)
Friday saw the Jacksonville City Council Finance Committee move toward wrapping up budget deliberations. However, there was still some unfinished business with various departments.
And the most interesting bit of business was political business — not budgetary.
— The big enchilada: the 100 new police officers and other proposals from JSO, which were not approved during the first budget hearing.
It got interesting quickly when Chairman Garrett Dennis pointed out a poll ran by Sheriff Mike Williams‘ political committee, which said people wanted more cops.
“We don’t want to feel like we’re being pressured,” Dennis said. “We just want to know the rationale behind it.”
Williams referred to the poll as a “snapshot of the community.” Dennis posited this was focused on African-American people; Williams said it was county-wide.
“It could be seen as trying to influence this body one way or the other,” Dennis said. “It’s been a tough week, seeing this article and seeing us as a target.”
Councilwoman Katrina Brown continued on this theme, noting her balancing act between constituents who don’t trust law enforcement and public safety.
“I asked for a plan. When you came to the budget hearing last week, you didn’t have a plan like today,” Brown said.
“I don’t want anyone to feel like Katrina Brown hates the police department,” Brown said, wondering if the Sheriff perceived the “hold up” in the budget as a lack of support.
The poll noted that half of Duval County voters would want to bounce a Council member who didn’t support the call for new cops, which nettled Brown.
“I become the target as if I’m the person that hates police, which is not true,” Councilwoman Brown said.
Brown cited bad moments for police, from the Hemming Park melee after a protest to an officer allegedly putting a gun