Diversity on the force at the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office

Diversity on the force at the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office
Diversity on the force at the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — According to the U.S. Census, as of 2019, Jacksonville’s population sits at 911,507, almost 1 million people.

Action News Jax looked into the make-up of officers within the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office to see if it was reflective of the community, focusing on three groups -- Blacks, Hispanics, and Caucasians

We found Jacksonville’s population is about 58 percent Caucasian, meaning close to half of the population is made up of minorities.

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  • 73%, a majority of officers at the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office, are Caucasian.
  • 31% of Jacksonville’s population is black, but only 16% of officers at JSO are black.
  • 9% of the Jacksonville population is made up of Hispanics; Hispanics make up about 6% of JSO officers.

A criminologist with the University of Maryland found crime rates in minority neighborhoods are lower when police departments reflect the communities they serve.

We asked JSO if Sheriff Mike Williams is satisfied with the diversity within the department. They provided agency-wide numbers – as opposed to just officers -- where 60% are Caucasian, close to 30% are black and 6% are Hispanic. Agency-wide the numbers are very close to the racial makeup of the city.

We have asked for comment specific to officer makeup within JSO. A spokesperson said:

“I can only speak to numbers I have been provided, which are the numbers in which I referenced below. JSO engages in the hiring of employees on a daily basis throughout the year. We actively seek qualified candidates for ALL positions respective to the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office. And as JSO is an Equal Opportunity Employer, we will continue to process all perspective employees and hire qualified applicants for all positions regardless of their race, sex or age.”

We also asked JSO about efforts to recruit minorities. They said they have a robust recruiting system throughout the community, including a dedicated recruiter to talk to people getting out of the military.