Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

New Zone 3 Substation Opens in Growing Jacksonville; Sheriff's Office Rents Space for $1 a Year

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

New Zone 3 Substation Opens in Growing Jacksonville; Sheriff's Office Rents Space for $1 a Year

Article excerpt

Byline: Dan Scanlan

The 190 officers and supervisors who patrol the city's Southside and Mandarin have a bigger home to work out of, and it only cost a buck for the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office to rent.

Instead of a cramped 2,400-square-foot building used for about 20 years next to Wolfson High School, Assistant Chief Mat Nemeth and his staff now have a 6,000-square-foot piece of an office building at 8875 Liberty Ridge Drive, within earshot of Interstate 95 and Baymeadows Road.

Faced with fielding officers in the city's most densely packed police zone and its acres of offices, apartments, highways and suburbs, the sheriff's office searched for a roomier and more centralized Zone 3 substation location for years. Crocker Partners, which owns the 54-acre Prominence business park, agreed to rent about half of one of its seven buildings between Dix Ellis Trail and Prominence Parkway to police for $1 a year for the next decade.

With rapid development continuing in the zone in areas like the Town Center, Gate Parkway, Butler Boulevard and Nocatee, Nemeth said the move next door to I-95 means faster access to everywhere for his staff. It also means easier access to citizens who need to retrieve and file reports, get fingerprints done for background checks, or just need to talk with an officer.

"Our zone has grown so much in its south and east," Nemeth said. "... The interstate access gives folks who are way down south in the Nocatee and southern areas better access to get to us. And even though we don't have officers who sit here, they do muster here. So having them muster closer to the interstate and more centrally in the zone, the officers can get to their areas quicker after roll call."

The Sheriff's Advisory Councils that meet monthly with Zone 3 staff to discuss crime in Southside and Mandarin got a preview of the new substation Monday. The ShAdCos have been working with officers for years, many times meeting in a small conference room at the old Powers Avenue substation or in local churches. …

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