Action News Jax Investigates: Amid resignations, response times increase in local town

Action News Jax Investigates: Police response times are increasing by more than five minutes in a local city.

The Putnam County Sheriff's Office is already helping Crescent City with calls. As Action News Jax told you last week, the Crescent City police chief and another officer unexpectedly resigned.

RELATED: Crescent City turns to Putnam County Sheriff due to officer shortage

On Tuesday, we found out another officer just left the department since now-former Police Chief Angelo Damiano resigned last week.

City Manager Patrick Kennedy said that leaves the city with three officers.

Action News Jax took a closer look at response times for this past week and compared the calls to the week before the Sheriff’s Office stepped in to help.

According to our data, the average response time increased roughly 5.5 minutes, from six minutes to roughly 11.5 minutes.

“Well, that’s concerning,” said resident Lisa Kane DeVitto.

For perspective, we asked the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office for its average response times, which were also around six minutes.

At a public meeting on Tuesday to determine what qualifications would determine the best fit for the new Crescent City police chief, we pressed Kennedy on if taxpayers are getting their money’s worth.

“Yes,” Kennedy said.  “It’s a small force, small town. I think, if you took the averages over the year, it might be a better window. I don’t have those numbers, obviously.”

Neighbors just want to see improvement.

“Hopefully, now that the Sheriff’s Office is used to covering for us, those response times will be a little higher,” DeVitto said. “I’m hoping.”

On Tuesday, Damiano broke his silence for the first time.  He said he resigned after city leaders gave him a memo telling him he needed to do less administrative work and more patrolling.

He said the memo was “demeaning and patronizing.”

“Good governance means that you hire the right people, and you trust what they do and what they say.

Because I was dedicated to serving the people of the town, and they - it seemed like, at every turn, that they were just trying to thwart that,” Damiano said.

Kennedy wouldn’t say why Damiano resigned.

He’ll be presenting an updated advertisement with qualifications for the next chief at a meeting Thursday.