As new Jacksonville crime task force begins, another ends

As the city of Jacksonville forms a new citizen task force to reduce crime, another citizen task force on crime comes to an end.

Jacksonville City Council President Aaron Bowman described the new Task Force on Safety and Crime Reduction as "truly a hands-on effort involving the entire city."

But the task force is not entirely the first of its kind in recent years.

The sheriff’s Strategic Initiative Task Force met from 2015 to 2016 and came up with recommendations on training, transparency, community engagement and resources.

Then in 2017, Sheriff Mike William created a new citizen task force called the Commission on Progress to implement those recommendations.

Since then, that commission has helped the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office implement multiple changes, including providing Mental Health First Aid training for all officers by 2019 and launching an LGBT liaison team.

The Commission on Progress’s meetings have dwindled.

According to JSO's website, the commission met 10 times in 2017, but only twice this year.
Commission on Progress chairman Reverend Canon Allison DeFoor told Action News Jax he feels the commission's job is essentially done.

Bowman said the new Task Force on Safety and Crime Reduction will be different.

STORY: Two teens applied to lead Jacksonville’s new crime task force

“I think a lot of things are going to be different about this task force. It has administration, it’s got city council, it’s got the sheriff, it’s got the state attorney, public defenders, and it’s got a resident from every district in this city,” said Bowman.

Last week, Bowman recommended 46 people for the task force, including recommending Pastor Mark Griffin as chair.

Sheriff Williams originally agreed to an interview with Action News Jax for this story, but his assistant told Action News Jax on Monday morning that he could not make it.

DeFoor bowed out of the scheduled interview as well, saying an interview would be “inappropriate” without the sheriff there.