Jacksonville Sheriff Announces 'Operation Ceasefire' In Response To Increase In Gun Crimes
Jacksonville Sheriff John Rutherford, along with Mayor Alvin Brown, City Councilwoman Denise Lee and other city leaders, revealed at a Tuesday press conference the details of an anti-crime initiative called Operation Ceasefire, which began at the start of May.
The effort is a response to the uptick in gun crimes in Northwest Jacksonville in the first part of the year, particularly the violent month of April when guns were used in 60 aggravated batteries and assaults. Rutherford said his officers plan to knock on 18,000 doors in an effort to reach out into the community to ask people to help them solve these crimes.
"We know the key to solving and preventing this activity is connecting with the community," Rutherford said.
Since the program began, Rutherford said, officers have already knocked on 4,000 doors, seized 10 illegal firearms and taken 381 grams of cocaine and 156 grams of marijuana off the streets.
Councilwoman Lee explained another aspect of the program which will involve the installation of surveillance cameras in targeted high-crime areas.
"To let the thugs know we are not playing with you," Lee said. "We will no longer tolerate it, stand for it or put up with it."
Rutherford said JSO will finance Operation Ceasefire with overtime money budgeted for summer, when crime rates typically go up. But he said they'll also have to shift officers from other parts of the city to beef up enforcement in the focus area, which is mostly patrol Zone 5.
The sheriff said he will ask the city to restore 40 police officers and 40 community service officer positions.
Rutherford said JSO is down 147 officers and 92 community service officers due to budget cuts which began in 2011.
You can follow Karen Feagins on Twitter @karenfeagins.