Rutledge announces candidacy for Clay County Sheriff

Don Coble, Managing Editor
Posted 5/6/19

GREEN COVE SPRINGS – Harold Rutledge, who has spent 34 years in the criminal justice field, filed his paperwork last Monday, June 3, to run for Clay County Sheriff.

“Like so many of you, I …

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Rutledge announces candidacy for Clay County Sheriff

Posted

GREEN COVE SPRINGS – Harold Rutledge, who has spent 34 years in the criminal justice field, filed his paperwork last Monday, June 3, to run for Clay County Sheriff.

“Like so many of you, I have called Clay County home for 22 years,” Rutledge said. “I have patrolled our neighborhoods as a Clay County deputy, and I have worked and taught in our public schools. I have raised my family here. I volunteer here. I worship here. This is where I’m involved. I believe it’s important to have your sheriff invested in the county.”

Rutledge said, as sheriff, he wound change the way deputies patrol their sectors. He said he would break up each sector into “beats” to make sure there’s greater coverage throughout each neighborhood.

“Right now, you have deputies assigned to patrol a sector, but they all may be in the same area,” Rutledge said. “That has increased response time. We used to have beats here and I certainly plan to bring it back. I want to put deputies back where they belong.”

Rutledge also vowed to rid the agency of several administrative positions and use those resources for additional deputies.

“The sheriff’s office is top-heavy,” he said. “It has to change.”

He also said high-ranking officers would be required to return to patrol at least once a month “so they won’t forget where they came from.”

Rutledge said he used statistics from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to say violent crime in Clay County has risen 6 percent. About 67 percent of crime went unsolved in 2018. Response times to high-priority calls have slowed, averaging more than 12 minutes. Two inmates have recently died at the Clay County Jail, and the overall crime rate in neighboring counties is down, but it’s up 6.8 percent in Clay County.

Rutledge is running for the post currently being held by Darryl Daniels.

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