The Clay County Sheriff’s Office says it’s short nearly 50 deputies from the state average and the staffing issues are leaving communities vulnerable.
Sheriff Darryl Daniels says there are two issues contributing to the issue: growth and funding.
He told Action News Jax that Clay County is one of the fastest growing counties in Florida and county commissioners have not increased his budget to match the rising population.
That means certain communities are not regularly patrolled and response times may get longer.
Sheriff Daniels has a plan to close the gap. If he can get the funding, he wants to hire 98 deputies by 2025.
County Commissioners are expected to review their budget to see what funds could be steered toward the Sheriff’s Office while avoiding the need to raise taxes.
The Sheriff’s Office estimates it needs about $6 million to hire enough deputies.
The Florida average is 1.72 deputies for every 1,000 residents.
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