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Glover: Easing Some Jacksonville Sheriff's Office Job Requirements Not A Bad Idea

Edward Waters College

Former Jacksonville Sheriff Nat Glover said he has no problem with Jacksonville Sheriff's Office’s plan to do away with a college-degree requirement for new officers.

But Glover doesn’t believe easing the qualifications will equal a more diverse force, as current Sheriff Mike Williams has said.

Williams said the department will focus more on an applicant’s experience in the fields of corrections and the military and less on education.

The reason? Williams wants to increase the number of black officers on the force because they’re underrepresented compared with the community.

But former sheriff and current Glover, president of Edward Waters College, said nixing the degree requirement can’t be the only strategy.

“I think it would sound a little condescending to say in order to get minorities you have to lower the qualities, or lower the standards, and I don't think that’s what the sheriff is saying,” Glover said. “I don't think that’s what his primary intent is.”

Glover said he stands firmly behind a 1995 grand jury decision mandating officers have college degrees but admits substituting a college degree with relevant experience in the military isn’t a terrible idea.

“I think the [Williams’s] requirements are designed to get additional candidates across the board, and hopefully in those additional candidates you would naturally have some African Americans,” Glover said.

Still, he said, more minority outreach and college-based police academies like the one recently approved for Edward Waters can better bridge the gap in minority law enforcement representation. 

Ryan Benk is a former WJCT News reporter who joined the station in 2015 after working as a news researcher and reporter for NPR affiliate WFSU in Tallahassee.