Jacksonville community organizations condemn proposed JSO budget increase, call for People’s Budget
Jacksonville, FL – On Wednesday July 20, local organizers rallied in favor of a People’s Budget, and against the proposed increase in the budget at the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office (JSO). They gathered outside of a townhall meeting scheduled by JSO Sheriff T.K. Waters at the Prime Osborn Convention Center.
The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office has consistently received yearly increases to their budget for nearly a decade. Sheriff T.K. Waters is asking city leaders for funding to hire another 80 officers, while pushing for over 200 to be added in the next four years. As the city's basic infrastructure continues to decay and houseless rates in the city reach an all-time high, JSO is expected to receive a historic budget increase.
The rally was called by with the Jacksonville Community Action Committee, The Northside Coalition and Take Em' Down Jax.
“A People's Budget would see bloated police budget increases reallocated and reinvested into the community,” said Neal Jefferson of the JCAC.
“If all of the officers are here, then who is responding to crimes?” asked one activist as they were met with egregious displays of force mirroring a military parade at the JSO townhall. Officers clad in gear clearly designed for urban warfare arrived in a variety of increasingly ludicrous vehicles, including what can only be described as tactical golf carts, a helicopter and police speed boat.
The coalition of grassroots community organizations was not intimidated, and dozens gathered to rally in favor of community control of the police, for the creation of a Public Safety Committee. Chanting, “No new JSO!” and “People's Budget now!” they vowed to oppose increased police funding.