by: Leslie Coursey Updated:
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Sheriff John Rutherford says his latest crime-fighting effort is working. Phase one of Operation Ceasefire is complete.
He started the operation back in May after 2014 got off to a violent start. From January to April, shootings were up 58 percent. Thirty-seven people were killed and the hot spot was northwest Jacksonville.
Rutherford increased patrols in the area and officers walked the streets looking for answers. Within the first 30 days, there were 41 felony arrests, 67 misdemeanor arrests and 484 traffic citations.
JSO also says crime in the area is down -- proof, the sheriff said, that violent crime is reduced where resources are deployed.
"I think it's critical that we get back to the resources that we had in 2011, when we had lowest murder numbers we had seen in 40 years," Rutherford said.
The sheriff said Jacksonville had 1,750 police officers then. Now, it has 1,603, the result of budget cuts. This year, he plans to ask the city to restore some of his staff. He wants 40 more officers plus 40 community service officers. He said they're needed to keep crime under control.