Recent service failures of the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office (JCSO)
911 answers the phone, but too often law enforcement doesn’t come.
On a Monday in 2021, several county residents in Coyle called 911 to report an abandoned vehicle in the middle of Hazel Point Road, just over a blind hill where the speed limit is 35 mph–a potentially lethal road hazard. A vehicle cannot be towed unless a deputy shows up & clears it for towing. But no JCSO deputy responded on Monday, so the hazard remained. Frustrated, Coyle residents called again on Tuesday. But no JCSO deputy responded on Tuesday, either. On Wednesday, an exasperated Coyle resident contacted Art Frank directly; Art reported the issue to command, and the vehicle got towed later that day.
In 2021, a county resident called 911 to report several swastikas carved into picnic tables at Irondale Beach County Park. A Jewish woman & a mom of young children, she was very distressed, & was especially concerned about her kids, who were with her. No deputy responded to the call. Days later, she called JCSO to inform them she had painted over the graffiti herself.
FRAUD & FORGERY
In 2022, a county resident called JCSO from vacation in Europe to report his house was being sold without his consent–apparently by someone using forged documents. The deputy he spoke to told him to call a lawyer, incorrectly claiming this was a civil matter. In fact, fraud and forgery are criminal offenses: felonies, actually. Ultimately, JCSO reassigned the case to Art Frank, who took appropriate action to document the crimes and submit evidence for prosecution.
When deputies come, too often they don’t help
In 2022, an assault took place at a local school, resulting in serious injury to a student. The victim’s parent called JCSO, but received no help. Frustrated by JCSO’s inaction, the victim’s parent then called the county prosecutor’s office, which prompted JCSO to investigate the assault.
In 2021, a Tri-Area resident called 911 to report that her teen child had assaulted a family member and request help. Instead of driving to the house, the assigned deputy phoned the complainant. The assigned deputy refused to come to the house to inform the minor of the legal consequences of assault, and then failed to file a report. A few weeks later, the teen assaulted her guardian. This time, a deputy responded and arrested the teen. Upset about JCSO’s failure to handle the first assault properly, the guardian called the sheriff, who sent a sergeant to speak to the guardian and apologize. However, the sergeant still failed to take a report on the first assault. Later, when Detective Art Frank investigated, Art took a report from the guardian, documented the first assault, and ensured the family received appropriate support from the justice system.
In 2022, a county resident called 911 to report a theft. She gave the responding deputy a copy of footage from her doorbell camera showing the suspect breaking into her husband’s van and stealing his tools. Months passed with no word from JCSO. When Art Frank knocked on her door as a sheriff’s candidate, she asked him (as a JCSO employee) to determine the status of her case. Art determined the original deputy had failed to resolve the case, and he reported the issue to a superior officer to increase the odds of successful resolution.