Jacksonville city leaders disagree on new Task Force on Safety & Crime Prevention

You can be a part of a new Jacksonville Task Force on Safety and Crime Prevention.

But not everyone thinks this call for action is going to make a difference.

“We’ve task forced, and task forced and task forced this thing to death,” said Jacksonville City Councilman Garrett Dennis.

Dennis was standing on A. Philip Randolph Boulevard and Pippin, where six people were shot Sunday afternoon.

That intersection is also a school bus stop.

It’s those kids’ futures that will be affected by how city leaders move forward.

Ariane Randolph and her five children live two blocks away.

It’s where her family has lived for generations.

“At my address, my grandmother used to be at that address. My mom was raised at that address,” Randolph said.

Randolph said she and her husband have talked to their kids about gun safety, but she said the solutions need to run deeper.

“Should you come near a gun, what you do? Should somebody else have a gun, or whatever. But again, we really teach them, how do you look at your community and seek change in economics and entrepreneurship?” Randolph said.

The city of Jacksonville is now taking applications for its new Task Force on Safety and Crime Prevention.

Council members are looking for more than 40 people from different communities to bring new ideas to the table.

But at a news conference Tuesday at the Eastside shooting scene, not a single person there knew about it.

“I put it on my Facebook page. It’s on COJ.net. There’s about 14, 15, 20 categories,” said City Councilman Jim Love. “They know about it now, I’m telling them.”

You can find the application here.

City Council members will decide which applicants they want on the task force.

It will likely be months before the first meeting is held.

Councilman Dennis said he thinks the task force is just more talk.

He also criticized Jacksonville’s top leaders for their response to Sunday’s shootings.

“Our sheriff was down in Tampa supporting his candidate for governor -- eye off the ball. Our mayor was sitting in a plush seat at the Jaguars game -- eye off the ball,” said Dennis.

Action News Jax asked Dennis where he was during the shootings.

“I was out of town, myself, with my daughter at a gymnastics tournament down in Lakeland. You know, again, nurturing my kids – my eye on the ball,” said Dennis.

Dennis argued the city needs to spend less of its budget on police and more on what he calls intervention and prevention.