Rutherford Hosts Northeast Florida Sheriffs, Members of Congress for Law Enforcement Discussion

August 19, 2021
Press Release
Duval, Nassau, St. Johns, Clay, and Bradford County Sheriffs attend

JACKSONVILLE, FL – Today, Congressman John Rutherford (FL-04) hosted a roundtable discussion with Duval County Sheriff Mike Williams, Nassau County Sheriff Bill Leeper, St. Johns County Sheriff Robert Hardwick, Clay County Sheriff Michelle Cook, Bradford County Sheriff Gordon Smithand Fraternal Order of Police Vice President Sgt. Randy Reeves. U.S. Representatives John Katko (NY-24) and Greg Pence (IN-06) also attended virtually.

“Throughout the country, we are witnessing attempts to delegitimize, demoralize, and defund law enforcement,” said Rutherford. “Congress has a responsibility to support the men and women in blue who risk their lives every day to keep our communities safe. I greatly appreciate hearing from Northeast Florida law enforcement leaders today about how we in Congress can help make their jobs easier and safer.”

Key takeaways from the roundtable discussion include:

  • Cuts to police funding lead to increased crime and longer response times.
  • Ending qualified immunity would prevent good police officers from confidently carrying out their duties and would lead to police shortages.
  • Accreditation remains an important tool in building strong relationships between agencies and communities.
  • Policing improves by building community trust and allowing agencies flexibility to make changes based on the situation on the ground, not through federal mandates.

Congressman Rutherford is a member of the American Security Task Force led by Congressman John Katko (NY-24), who is also the top Republican on the House Homeland Security Committee. Rutherford leads the Law Enforcement pillar of the Task Force, which also includes U.S. Reps. Nicole Malliotakis (NY-11), Greg Pence (IN-06), and Troy Nehls (TX-22).