JSO responds to computer issues, claims response times not impacted

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office released a statement Tuesday after an attempted cyberattack over the weekend prompted the department to scale back its systems.

“Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office Network Engineers continue assessing systems following the recent events,” a representative said in a statement. “Most importantly, police response times and service levels to the community have not been impacted. Again, JSO has not been the subject of a ransomware attack. The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office, out of an abundance of caution, proactively separated its servers from the city network. At this point, there have been zero indications of compromise to any of JSO’s systems.”

Action News Jax first reported Sunday when several sources confirmed JSO had shut down parts of its computer-assisted dispatch (CAD) system after suspicious cyber activity.

RELATED: ‘A huge disruption’: Expert explains impact of Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office system outage

“There was what tech people tell me was an intrusion. So I liken it to if the city is a bank, the bad guy walked into the lobby and the cameras noticed him and we took precautions after that,” Brian Hughes, the city’s chief administrative officer, said.

Software caught an attempt at an intrusion into the system over the weekend and triggered an investigation by the FBI. Hughes said that over the next 24 hours, engineers will continue a deep dive into the system to ensure nothing was compromised.

“JSO made a choice to do a full sever. But as has been noted by JSO and others, there’s no essential services disrupted,” Hughes said.

STORY: ‘Everyone needs to be patient’: Glynn County students return to school amid bus driver shortage

Action News Jax reached out to JSO multiple times over the weekend and Monday, but did not hear back until Tuesday.

Action News Jax’s Robert Grant asked Hughes about the lack of response.

“That’s because there were several reporting errors that talked about JSO being the target. I think JSO felt like [it was] put out wrong. The City was the target or intrusion point. That’s why we’ve been talking.”

The City did release a statement Sunday after reports of the attempted hack surfaced.

RELATED: Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office experiencing suspicious cyber activity, independent sources say

While the sheriff’s office claimed there was no impact on response times, Action News Jax did report on a dip in arrests made over the weekend.

As of Tuesday afternoon, there were 30 total arrests reported in the department’s public in-sheet report on Sunday. That compares to 70 the Sunday before.

The lag appeared to continue into Monday with 17 in the in-sheet report.

STORY: A teenager is fatally shot at the InTown Suites on St. Johns Bluff Road North

CAD is the system dispatchers use to communicate with officers in the field and is how officers submit arrest reports.

“When anybody is on or off the network, it changes the way you do your job. But it doesn’t change your capacity to do your job. JSO had the capacity to do their job. They have a variety of ways for this very occasion,” Hughes said.

The City bolstered its cybersecurity over the past three years and Hughes said the software worked.

Comments on this article