JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Sheriff John Rutherford has some serious concerns about keeping our streets safe after he was ambushed by Mayor Alvin Brown with steeper cuts. Rutherford says the mayor put millions of dollars of extra cuts for JSO when he turned in his proposed budget Monday. As of last week, Sheriff Rutherford and the mayor agreed on cutting $22 million from the department. This week, to the sheriff's surprise, he found out the mayor wants $6 million more slashed.
“I don't know what their motivation was but I know they knew the number Wednesday,” said Rutherford. “So they had Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, all weekend and nobody told me about it."
If city council approves those cuts, the sheriff will layoff 95 uniformed police officers when he planned days ago on no layoffs for sworn officers.
“These are not my cuts. Cutting these CSO officers, closing the jail; those are the mayor’s cuts,” said Rutherford.
Action News wanted to know what Mayor Brown had to say about the additional cuts. "Mayor Alvin Brown met numerous times with the Sheriff to discuss the budget impacts affecting the Sheriff's office. Like other departments, the city seeks to have the Sheriff's office shoulder its share of financial obligations so hardworking taxpayers are not penalized,” City spokesperson David Decamp said in a statement to Action News.
"I've already cut everything else I've got to cut. I got 154 civilian positions that we're cutting already. So there's no where else to go but police officers now if we have to cut an additional $6 million,” said Rutherford.
The Sheriff is now requesting city council to use JSO’s budgeted savings as a $6.1 million in credit to preventing layoffs of uniformed police, keeping 95 sworn officers from losing their jobs.