Although Jacksonville is not the most dangerous city in Florida, it is among the most dangerous. Jacksonville, FL, is a large city with regards to land area and population size. Large cities generally tend to have more crime than smaller ones. Further, Jacksonville’s violent crime rate is one of the highest in the nation, across communities of all sizes. Violent crime rates places everyone on edge, including our police. Then there’s the added pressure for law enforcement to reduce violent crimes rates while competing with perpetually declining public confidence. Unfortunately, this is often a self-inflicted wound.
Recently Rev. Bolden of First Missionary Baptist Church of Fernandina Beach, was allegedly the recipient of a gun being pointed at himself and his nephew by a JSO officer over having tinted windows which were deemed too dark and being a legal gun owner on 7/23/2017. The last Jacksonville Sheriff’s officer was shot on 7/25/2017 by a thin white male on the city’s Westside not a big, black male on the city’s Northside. Why do police officers request identification and insurance information from some motorists then proceed to point their guns at them for following these commands? Is this police protocol? If this is protocol, then why is this not carried out across the board with all citizens?
As someone whose been pulled over by JSO for various traffic citiations in my day, this has never been my experience with any JSO officer, but, I’m also not a black man. Despite the fact that these incidents haven’t happened to me, I’m not naive enough to believe they don’t happen to anyone else. The accounts of various friends and relatives have been enough to make me a believer. It’s time we look at the impact of high crime rates on policing. It’s time we consider the mental health of police offiicers as well as identify and address racial bias in policing. With the number of police officials being disciplined for racist social media posts and/or unintended audio recordings disparaging people of color all across America , I think we are past debating the actual existence of racism in policing. Let’s have the adult conversation and solve some real problems.