JSO projects increased revenue by supporting monitoring services, but could cost taxpayers – 104.5 WOKV
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — JSO expects to generate $1.4 million in additional revenue by fully taking over ankle monitoring systems in Duval County, but there are concerns the proposal could actually cost taxpayers.
Josh Cockrell is co-owner of Reliable Monitoring Solutions.
The company has been a leading provider of alcohol monitoring and GPS systems in the county since 2019, but in the past six months JSO has won more of those contracts.
“And we’ve seen such a decrease,” Cockrell said.
He was surprised to find out at a budget hearing in August that JSO intended to resume all ankle monitoring services from October 1.
“Monopolize these services rather than outsourcing them to private providers,” Cockrell said.
Cockrell says his company collects around 90% of the fees owed to him.
But Cockrell started to do some research and discovered through public records requests that JSO’s collection rate appears to be much lower.
According to JSO records, only 27% of fees due on active monitors had been collected as of August 3, putting the program $156,000 in the red.
“And it’s a shame that taxpayers have to pay for these services,” Cockrell said.
There is also a question of personnel.
JSO said the additional monitoring services would fall under the jurisdiction of the prison, which is currently short of 109 correctional officers.
It’s a problem that Acting Sheriff Pat Ivey has argued a new software system will solve.
“I have been assured by this chain of command that this endowment can make it through this release process,” Ivey said Aug. 11.
Council members also raised their concerns at the August 11 budget meeting.
Council Vice-Chairman Ron Salem (group R 2 at large) called for an audit of the program to be carried out and completed by March to ensure that taxpayers’ money is not being mismanaged.
We asked him why he didn’t ask for the audit to be completed before JSO took over all the services.
“Well, that’s a minimal amount they’re making now. I think the better question is for the private sector that is currently making these bracelets, why does the judiciary, public defender and state attorney’s office want this moved to the sheriff’s office? Salem said.
Board members told us that this issue would likely come up at Finance Committee meetings in about two weeks.
Cockrell said he hopes they reconsider before finalizing the budget.
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