Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Letting the Sheriff's Office Know Advisory Council Members Voice Concerns to Officials

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Letting the Sheriff's Office Know Advisory Council Members Voice Concerns to Officials

Article excerpt

Sheriff's Advisory Council participants and Jacksonville police say core membership attendance at Arlington-area meetings has resulted in successful communication between police and citizens, but it wouldn't hurt to see more people involved.

Created in 1995, the organization meets once a month for citizens to voice concerns directly to the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office and learn about police procedures. Jacksonville is divided into six Advisory Council zones and the Arlington area is numbered as Zone 2. Nearly 180,000 people live within the zone, covering about 75 square miles from the St. Johns River to the north and west, Beach Boulevard to the south, and the Beaches to the east, according to the zone commander, Assistant Chief Rick Townsend.

"I'd personally like to see better participation," said Charles Sikes, chairman of one of the three sectors. "There are nearly 70,000 people in our sector and we average around 30 per meeting."

Townsend described current Advisory Council participation as "steady" and said it's difficult to ask for more commitment.

"People are committed to things all during the week. To ask them to give up another evening to us is sometimes awkward," he said. "That's why we need a core group to work with."

Sikes said attendance will sometimes increase if there are crime problems in particular neighborhoods. But once the situation is addressed by police, the numbers drop off again.

To hear citizen feedback, Townsend said he tries to attend each meeting and makes sure at least one lieutenant, sergeant and officer are present. …

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