Unification of Local Police Forces
A long-running issue is back up for discussion, but now that Alachua County Sheriff Sadie Darnell is pushing hard to unify the Sheriff's Office with the Gainesville Police Department, others are voicing their opposition-and some are turning to elected officials at the state capitol.
Brankdon Kutner, President of North Central Florida's, Police Benevolent Association has taken the idea of unifying Alachua County Sheriff's Office and Gainesville Police Department all the way to Tallahassee; petitioning the legislature for a bill that would create a, "review panel" to come up with a plan for the unification of law enforcement services.
"That plan would be presented to the voters in Alachua county and referendum would show up on a local ballot," said Kutner, "this is the plan, by your vote, do you want to see a unification of law enforcement services?"
However, Gainesville Mayor Craig Lowe says city residents already have the option of voicing their opinions, at town hall meetings.
"They would lose that opportunity to have those regularly scheduled city commission meetings, which they have the opportunity to tell their elected officials how they want law enforcement to be conducted in Gainesville," said Lowe.
He added, "the best solution is for the city of Gainesville to have its own police department."
Local legislative delegates would vote on PBA's "local bill" before state legislators do, and the mayor says, they usually don't go against local delegates' vote.
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