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Dozens of JSO Officers Now Without a Job, More Layoffs to Come

10:17 PM, Oct 4, 2011   |    comments
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Police car after police car pulled up at the Memorial Building this evening.

Officer after officer going inside to lose their job.

While Sheriff John Rutherford has not yet released the total number of officers he's letting go, FOP President Nelson Cuba estimates it will be about 50.

"There are also another 25-30 positions that are vacant that they're going to eliminate, so you're looking at between 70 and 80 positions that will be eliminated from the sheriff's office," said Cuba.

Hoping they may someday be rehired by JSO, the laid-off officers declined to speak on camera- but they did speak out on Facebook- with dozens posting online about their anger over the unprecedented layoffs.

"I've been here 20 plus years in this community and I have never before heard of police officers being laid off," he said. 

Last week, the City Council cut more than $16 million from the JSO budget.

The layoffs still come as a surprise to the City Council President Stephen Joost. "With the sheriff's budget being so big, I though reasonable people would give ground. We need these officers on the streets."   

Cuba and sheriff have fought publicly over the budget and the layoffs for the better part of this year, but the union president said mending their relationship would not have saved the officers jobs.

"'Because of you, I have to have this layoff.' That's a lie. Simply, it is not true," he said. 

The sheriff has said that every level of the department will suffer cuts, a reality driven home tonight.

"I may feel a little safer than most because everywhere I go, I'm packing. That means I'm going to make sure, and I have training to make sure that I can protect myself. There's citizens that they count on us for that protection, and there's not going to be as many of us out there to protect them," Cuba said.

Cuba expects more layoffs will be announced on Tuesday.

Sheriff John Rutherford released a statement saying that while his department is in the implementation process of the layoffs, he will not be publicly commenting.  He anticipated making a statement on the lost jobs on Wednesday.

"I've looked at mileage abnormalities with cars they could look at that, that would be a savings of $500k ,they should forego pay raises and the could consolidate their IT services with city hall's,"  said Joost.

Even though Rutherford has been silent on his layoffs he spoke with the executive director of the Justice Coalition. The non profit group helps victims of crime. 

"Sheriff Rutherford assured me any of the emergency situations that we have in the public safety will not be affected," said Ann Dugger.

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