County's Growth Means Larger Sheriff's Office
Anderson, R. Michael, The Florida Times Union
GREEN COVE SPRINGS -- As Clay County's population continues to escalate, driven by new subdivisions that seem to spring up like mushrooms after rain showers, so does the size of the sheriff's office.
In a continuing effort to keep pace with a growing demand for law enforcement services throughout the county's 644 square miles, 87 new employees have been hired by the sheriff's office this year.
However, due to resignations and terminations of employees who were replaced, the net gain in personnel this year totaled 65. Still, officials said, that's a significant increase.
"This is a testimony to the growth of the Clay County Sheriff's Office, which is driven by the rapid expansion of Clay County's population," said sheriff's office spokeswoman Mary Justino.
In addition to 47 new deputies hitting the streets this year, including 12 correctional deputies who transferred to the law enforcement ranks from the jail, the agency has hired 22 new jailers and 15 new dispatchers.
Five new civilian employees were hired for full-time positions and 10 others were placed in part-time jobs.
According to data provided by the sheriff's office, federal grant money funded the hiring of 28 new deputies this year: 20 were assigned to patrol duties, six were assigned to schools as youth resource officers and two were assigned to a special DUI detail to get drunk drivers off the roads.
At a ceremony in the county administration building Monday, Sheriff Scott Lancaster swore in the latest crop of new employees: 12 uniformed deputies, four dispatchers and two correctional deputies.
Because the event attracted dozens of family members, friends and co-workers, it was conducted inside the spacious County Commission meeting room in the county administration building rather than in the sheriff's office. …